Dream job: LEGO’s Master Model Builder

For his “interview,” Johnson, right, competed in a LEGO build-off.

Andrew Johnson has the job you wanted when you were 6 — and likely still covet now. As the new Master Model Builder of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, the 23-year-old designs 3-D LEGO models for the families that visit. Last week, he completed his first display since starting full-time at the beginning of the month.

“I just made a cardinal — that’s the state bird of Illinois,” he tells us. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to design something and watch it come into creation so fast.”

Plenty of aspects of the job could be described as “a lot of fun,” which is why the position isn’t easy to come by. There are only four Master Model Builders in the U.S. and an additional eight abroad. Johnson landed the gig after competing against eight other finalist applicants in a “build-off,” during which he created a replica of Chicago’s Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture, a model of the Lorax using less than 40 LEGO pieces and an especially tricky audience-member request: a violin and a hands-free harmonica.

For now, Johnson — who is one credit shy of a degree in history from DePaul University — isn’t concerned with big-picture career questions or especially eager to join his friends in the cubicles.
“It’s one of the only toys I can think of that you don’t grow out of,” says Johnson of LEGOs. “I’m going to stay here as long as I’m having fun — which I can see being a long time.”

His building style

Johnson has been playing with LEGOs since he was a child, but sharpened his skills while working at a camp where the toys were used to teach architecture and engineering. “There are people who have a lot of kits, but I’m more of a free-builder — I haven’t used instructions in a long time,” he says. “I don’t buy kits, just the basic building blocks. It’s a lot of trial and error.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Television

9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…