If you've been missing the big city because you've been trapped at home for three months, Heritage Bricks can bring the city to you.

Alex Saar started his bespoke modelling kit company back in April, after a gift for a comedian friend—a mini model of Little Mountain Gallery—garnered some attention. He put together a few more to sell as a fundraiser for the independant comedy club, and started looking around to see other cultural spaces might need a little love. 

"The Rio Theatre then seemed like an appropriate follow-up model," says Saar, who launched pre-sales for Rio kits last month. "I love independent cinema and the fantastic art deco facade translated quite well into brick form." This week, he announced that the next in his series will be the iconic Vancouver Special. (If those buildings aren't appealing, he also takes commissions—check out his tiny replica of The Wallflower.)

Heritage Bricks is an opportunity for Saar, a lifelong Lego fan, to share some love for the city of Vancouver while also indulging his passion for brickwork. "I haven’t stopped loving Lego since I was a child," he says. Over the past four years, he's been an active member of the Lego community, volunteering for the city's Lego Fan Club, doing design work for the BrickCan Lego Fan Convention. He's made friends from around the world, and, in the process, sparked his creativity. "It's a very friendly and open community," says Saar. "I've discovered a lot of techniques and creative uses for parts from friends and builders I admire."

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Lego has its own adult-friendly, architecture-buff-approved line of official models—Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them—but this is an ultra-local endeavour that focuses less on starchitecture and more on honouring our favourite neighbourhood haunts. From the VAG to Vernon Grocery to the Hobbit House, there are a million other buildings that Saar could package up for Vancouverites' delight in the future. "While I have yet to settle on the location for the next kit, I’ve spent the last three years working in Chinatown and would love to pay tribute to that neighbourhood, as there’s no shortage of unique spaces there, and they all tell an important story about Vancouver’s history," says Saar.

In his view, the best candidates for kits have to be beloved and distinct, but also feasible for his micro building-style. "Another key deciding factor is feasibility in the micro building style I enjoy working with. I find building small forces enough of a framework to help guide the design process, while throwing in unique challenges along the way," says Saar. The Vancouver Special roof, for instance, went though four iterations to get the angles right.  

Ranging in price from $45 to $60, these quirky kits are a brick-by-brick love letter to the city Saar loves... and a way to build community, even when we can't actually be together in these spaces. "Creating the instructions is probably the part I enjoy most," says Saar. "It's the point where these builds go from models in my head, to an experience I can share with others."

Order via DM on the Heritage Bricks Instagram account, @heritage.bricks

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