November 7, 2022

The Iconic Vancouver Special: Alex Saar’s Latest Lego Hack

Designer Alex Saar is a local creative genius blending in current culture and the popular lego toy. When the Barge on the Beach stubbornly overstayed  its welcome (now is undergoing a million dollar dismantling job on Sunset Beach), Alex Saar of Heritage Bricks partnered with Vancouver is Awesome to create a lego barge kit, that you too could park.


Earlier this year you could order this reimagined set which included 85 “Genuine Lego” pieces and a 16 page instruction guide.  Sadly this exciting toy is sold out.

Once again Mr. Saar is at it, with another lego “workaround”, reconstituting existing lego kits in a true Vancouver icon-the much loved, debated, and truly local “Vancouver Special”.

As the Vancouver Heritage Foundation notes “The Vancouver Special is the only house style that developed in Greater Vancouver, found nowhere else. They were built by the thousands between 1965 and 1985. They were a response to the City of Vancouver’s setback by-laws and the allowable building envelope of the time.”

And here’s why: A designer named Larry Cudney surmised that by sinking the first floor a foot and a half below grade, he could make the supposed first floor the “basement” and then max out on the second floor. With its low pitched roof that just squeaked by on the height requirements, the Vancouver Special was born. It fit the City’s by-laws and created two very liveable units in one house. You may not like the look of the outside, but the inside is spacious and light, something a lot of the houses from that era were not.

You can take a look at Mr. Saar’s Instagram which illustrates his many designs with reworking Lego into local buildings. If you would like your very own Vancouver Special, it comes with 90 Lego pieces and the kits are designed and hand packed locally. You can click on this link to order your own. The estimated shipping date for the kits is December 12th, just in time for seasonal gifting.



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