Product Idea |

LEGO Campanile @ University of California, Berkeley


06/26/2014 - 2,500 Votes

We're over 25% of the way there... Thanks to all who've voted. We can definitely use more support and sharing to get the word out. The response from everyone has been so positive... hopefully, this can be produced so all can have access to it!

DID YOU KNOW: If a project is chosen and produced, LEGO does give 1% of the proceeds to the creator. In this case, were that to happen, I have pledged to give the entire amount back to the University.

PICTURED HERE: The LEGO Campanile outside the entrance to the real Campanile. 



05/07/2014 - 2,000 Votes

20% there! Many thanks to support from the Cal Athletics Dept. and the Cal Alumni Association at the University of California, Berkeley. Many more thanks to the now 2,000+ who took time to register a vote of "Support" and have expressed to me that they'd buy multiple sets as gifts!

PICTURED: The LEGO Campanile next to the real Campanile!


04/11/2014 - 1,000 Votes + Comment From LEGO!

LEGO Ideas provided an official comment to us on reaching 1K votes. Thanks everyone for your support! See the "Official LEGO Comments" tab!


Building the LEGO Campanile in 38 seconds!

Can the LEGO Campanile be built in 38 seconds? And if so, how much fun could that be? 

Let's find out!

If you enjoyed this, please take 38 seconds (er... or a bit more time than that) to submit a vote of support!


The LEGO Campanile featured in the Daily Californian news paper!

What would the Campanile look like as a LEGO set?

LEGO Campnaile


Answer: nothing short of “pretty darn cool.”

Every day, many avid fans of anything along the spectrum of the mainstream to the underground submit their designs for a dream LEGO set to There they become “projects,” and people hope their submissions appeal to the masses and gain votes. Once a quarter-year is up, the Cuusoo team reviews the projects that have accrued a total of 10,000 supporters or more and decides on one to commercialize.

This year’s notable Cuusoo contributor is Michael Lin from the UC Berkeley class of 2001, whose idea it was to turn our 307-foot-tall Campanile into a 240-piece LEGO novelty. As a student, Lin worked as a campus tour guide. He’s operated the elevator and has taken students, alumni and visitors up and down the tower many times. The Campanile “represents our best values as an institution for bettering the world,” says Lin. We interviewed him to find out more about his inspired idea to turn our campus landmark into a LEGO set.

The Daily Californian: Have you always been interested/passionate about architecture? To what can you attribute the roots of this passion?

Michael Lin: I majored in architecture in undergrad. And while I don’t work in an architecture profession, I’ve definitely always been interested in various creative pursuits, which goes beyond buildings and LEGOs. I think I’ve always been artistically inclined, and that has manifested itself in different ways as I’ve gone along. In high school, for example, I actually took first place at the California State Fair in the arts category for a giant (six-foot-long) Converse All Star shoe that I made.

DC: What happens when your project reaches 10,000 votes? Can you explain how this will go from idea to product?

ML: LEGO set up the Cuusoo site a few years ago (in 2008), and I only learned about it recently. “Cuusoo” is the Japanese word for “wish,” and it’s a way for people to submit their dream projects. If a project gets 10,000 votes, the LEGO Cuusoo team will formally consider it for production against the other projects that achieved the required votes during a submission period. Currently, they review projects four times a year. There’s no time limit in achieving 10,000 votes.

In the evaluation, LEGO will look at the design and also the business viability of the project. They can reject the project, choose it for production or decide to further evaluate.

DC: Do you envision this project as a starting point to a series of college-themed LEGO sets?

ML: That is up to LEGO, of course. But I think a college-themed line of the “LEGO Architecture” series could be proftable for LEGO, actually. The series has been around for a few years, and most of the sets are of iconic buildings — the Empire State Building, Space Needle, etc. There are also some iconic buildings like the United Nations building that maybe are not as profitable (I’m assuming here). My thought is that even though specific college buildings like the Campanile are not as well-known worldwide, the community that does know the Campanile has strong ties to the building. And for the colleges and universities that have buildings that are so iconic like the Campanile is for Berkeley, there’s definitely a market for these types of LEGO sets.

DC: You bring up the fact that this project may be too “narrow in scope.” If this is the case, why not propose an “Education” series, as you suggested, that will encompass an array of ranked learning institutions that will cover a wider market?

ML: By nature, the LEGO Campanile has a smaller market and may therefore be narrower in scope. The Cuusoo site asks for single project submissions and not a “series.” But I imagine if the LEGO Campanile is successful, there are other schools that they can partner with.

I think an education series is also a good PR-type move. But ultimately, I do think there’s a strong business case.

DC: What quality or trait would you say you most identify with in the Campanile?

ML: I think the Campanile and I both like to welcome people to the campus.

The project just hit its 1,000-vote benchmark. To support the project, click here. Clicking the “Support” button will lead you to a registration process that will sign you up on the LEGO Cuusoo site. Once you’re signed up, you can vote!



LEGO Campanile featured in California Magazine!


Cal Architecture Grad Asks Fellow Alums to Urge Toy Titan: LEGO My Campanile

By Glen Martin

Michael Lin liked playing with Legos as a kid. In fact, he couldn’t get enough of the strangely compelling little plastic building blocks. Literally.

“My family wasn’t wealthy, so I never had as many as I wanted,” Lin recalls. “But I was fascinated with them, with their possibilities.”

He wasn’t—or isn’t—alone, of course. The toys have inspired a chain of amusement parks around the globe, and a popular movie now playing in theaters, the plot of which focuses on an ordinary Lego construction worker who is recruited to help stop an evil tyrant from “gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.” Perhaps even more surprisingly,Lego creations are now a distinctive art niche, sometimes resulting in large public exhibitions: the giant hummingbird in Rieman Gardens at Iowa State University, for example, or the group of humanoid “treehuggers” installed at Clement Clarke Moore Park in New York City to commemorate this year’s Earth Week.

But when Lin recently “re-engaged” with Legos, as he puts it, he planned nothing so grandiose. He merely wanted to immortalize the most iconic of Berkeley’s icons—the Sather Tower campanile—in a Lego kit.

“A couple of months ago I started fooling around with Legos and I made a couple of mock-ups of the Campanile,” he recalls. “I knew that Lego has a suggestion site—if you submit a proposal and it gets 10,000 votes, they’ll consider making a kit. I thought it would be very cool if they included the Berkeley Campanile in their architecture series.” It includes things like the Empire State Building and the Seattle Space Needle, but there’s nothing representative of a university campus. 

Relatively long story short: Lin submitted his proposal on the Legos Ideas website. (The site was formerly Lego Cuusoo.) He has a year to garner the full complement of votes. As of the end of April, he has more than 1,660 supporters.

“That may not seem like a lot, but it’s actually a pretty good showing to date,” Lin says. “You can’t just log on and vote yes or no. You have to go through a lot of clicks, filling out some relatively long forms about how many kits you might buy, and so forth.”

In other words, Lego is using the Ideas site as an opportunity for some painless, cheap, and potentially remunerative data mining. But Lin is good with that. Although he majored in architecture at the College of Environmental Design, he works as a financial advisor in San Ramon. There is an elegance, a felicitous melding of materials and concept, implicit in a Lego campanile, but there is also the stark fact that everybody has to get paid.

“For that matter, I undertook some market research on my own,” says Lin. “You want to hit an affordable price point. So when I made my prototypes, I kept that in mind. I ended up with a 10-inch model, consisting of 240 pieces. That puts it right in the range of most of the other sets in the company’s architecture series.”

Lin acknowledges that a Lego Cal campanile is unlikely to become the firm’s top-selling product.

“It’s not a Batman or Spiderman kit,” he says. “But I think it will be a steady seller. People who go to Berkeley are proud of their association with the school. And nothing says ‘Berkeley’ more than the Campanile.”


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