Ian Coffey is LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston’s Master Model Builder. A resident of the Albany, New York, area, Coffey earned the job by winning the LEGO Brick Factor contest, held at the Boston Public Library on Saturday and Sunday, besting a field that started with more than 60 contestants.

In an email with BostInno, Coffey, LDC Boston’s new MMB, shared a bit of his background, and provided some details of last weekend’s competition…


You worked as a desk clerk for the New York State Senate. What led you there?

I have always been interested in politics. Out of college I knew that I wanted to be involved in creating laws and ultimately being a part of history. My first step toward that goal was through a position at the New York State Capital.

What pushed you to compete in Boston’s Brick Factor contest? Did you feel like you had a realistic shot a winning?

Two people really pushed me to compete. My friend Mike sent me the newspaper clipping and my friend Kristin signed me up, saying that the job was made for me. I love LEGO bricks, but I really didn’t think I had a shot at winning. I actually brought my skis with me to Boston because I didn’t think I’d make it to the Brick Factor finals on Sunday!

How long have you been a LEGO fan?

I’ve been a LEGO fan for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I used to build with my older brother. To this day I still get LEGO bricks for Christmas.

Describe your two days at Brick Factor. What were the other contestants like? How was the atmosphere? What was your favorite structure built by someone else?

I was so nervous walking into the competition. I didn’t know what to expect at all. I got there early on Saturday and saw what the contestants from the first round were building and was very intimidated. All the contestants were so talented and the pressure in the room was high. The fans were so supportive, especially the young kids interacting with us while we were building. By Sunday I was a little less nervous because I had an idea of which LEGO pieces I could use. My father also drove in on Sunday so I had a familiar face for the final round of competition which put me at ease.

There were so many really creative models built over the two days, but my favorites were the robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (created in Round 1), and the surfer in the wave (created in Round 2). When I saw those builds, that’s when I really got nervous!

What did you build for the final round? And why?

For the final round I built a painting on an easel. The theme given to us was “ Something that inspired you” and I instantly thought of LEGO bricks and creativity. I thought that the best way to bring my idea to life was through a painting made out of LEGO bricks. I asked the fans for input on the color choices and what should be depicted on the paining. Together we “painted the picture.”