The LEGO Group surprised fans in 2007 with the first modular building—10182 Café Corner. The set was a large building with a detailed façade targeted at older collectors; it didn’t even have an interior, clearly meant to be a display piece first and playset second. 10182 was so popular that it spawned the modular building subtheme, which has had annual releases ever since.
The modular buildings are now released at the start of every year and are an important part of any LEGO fan’s calendar. The buildings have had many different themes, with everything from a cinema to a police station. With so many high-quality sets, picking out just a few of the very best may seem like an impossible task. But Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, is up for the challenge, listing the five best LEGO modular buildings…
10260 Downtown Diner
2018 marked the beginning of a new age for LEGO modular buildings with the release of 10260 Downtown Diner. 10260 moved the line into the 1950s with an American-style diner from the era. Large brick-built letters advertise the restaurant above an excellent curved window. The upper levels are mostly a simple tan, but a tower of windows and teal bricks anchors the side of the building and adds a pop of 1950s colour. The interior space features the diner, a boxing gym and recording studio — with a minifigure very reminiscent of a certain rockstar.
10218 Pet Shop
Only half of 2011’s 10218 Pet Shop is actually as advertised, with half the set being the shop and the other being a townhouse. The two halves are built on their own 16×32 baseplates, offering some new ways to plan your LEGO city layout. The pet shop itself has a great brick-built sign, letting minifigures know exactly what’s to be found inside. The neighbouring townhouse has some fun details inside, including a tiny bathroom under the stairs and a hidden hatch in the floor giving access to a small basement space. The upper levels reveal that the house is under renovation, preparing for a new family of minifigures to move in.
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10243 Parisian Restaurant
10243 Parisian Restaurant may sound like an odd choice for a LEGO set, but it was 2014’s modular building nonetheless. 10243 has a unique build compared to other sets in the series, with a curved roof and large deck space. The exterior is beautifully built, making use of croissants, clams and fence gates. The elegant exterior is complimented by a well-detailed interior — the ground floor houses the restaurant itself, the second has the balcony and small apartment and the top floor has a tiny art studio.
10246 Detective’s Office
2015 followed up 2014’s success with yet another incredible model, 10246 Detective’s Office. 10246 features not only the office of Detective Ace Brickman, but also a pool hall and barber shop. The set has a lovely colour scheme, using a mix of earthy tones and blues. There’s excellent parts usage as well — BIONICLE hands and Unikitty’s tail are used to decorate the roofs of both buildings. The two buildings are technically one, but the different colours and alleyway down the middle help them to stand out on the street. There’s also a mystery afoot, just waiting for Ace Brickman to solve it.
10255 Assembly Square
2017’s modular building marked the 10th anniversary of the line, so the set had to be extra special to commemorate the occasion — and 10255 Assembly Square fits the bill perfectly, earning the top spot on the list. The set is made up of three buildings spread over a 32×48 stud area. Each building has callbacks to the first 10 years’ worth of modulars, including a café with a sign akin to 10182’s and a roof similar to 10243’s. 10255’s size is certainly a perk, but the individual buildings are all beautifully designed, with textured walls and intricate roofs. The fountain in the centre is a nice bonus and a great space for the included minifigures to gather. In other words, it’s the perfect square for them to assemble and celebrate the modular building line.