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Dan Parker (second from right), former Lego Certified Professional, shows off one of his LEGO creations at the EMP on Wednesday.

If you’re a fan of Legos and share an appreciation for architecture, a visit to a new exhibit in Seattle is in order.

Opening Friday at the EMP Museum is “Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture,” which includes a set of ten landmarks built using only Legos.

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From left to right: Hearst Tower, Taipei 101, One World Trade Center, Space Needle.

It is an impressive achievement, especially considering that the artists used only standard Lego pieces without any glue or cutting.  Architectural marvels from New York City’s Flatiron Building to Seattle’s own Space Needle are among the collection, which opens to the public during a celebration this Friday evening.

The man behind the structures is Dan Parker, a former Lego Certified Professional who builds custom Lego displays for a living. He and his team constructed each building, sketching out the designs and eventually connecting the blocks together.

“When we sat down to look at what we could build, we wanted to build things with personality,” Parker explained. “We didn’t want to build cookie cutters and we didn’t want to build plain rectangular blocks. We looked at buildings around the world that had amazing footprints, profiles, personalities and backstories.”

Those qualities definitely hold true for building like London’s 30 St. Mary Axe, which was especially challenging to build.

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Left to right: Menara Telekom, 30 St. Mary Axe, Flatiron Building.

“You’ve got this cross pattern of different colors of glass, and you’ve got a torpedo-shaped building,” Parker said. “To do that with Legos was a real challenge.”

Parker said it takes weeks to put together each structure, but the entire creation process from start to finish can extend even longer. He compared his work to that of a musician.

“It’s a very non-linear track to putting these buildings together,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not really quantifiable and it’s really hard to put numbers on these when you’re working with a creative medium.”

Like most of us, Parker first began building with Legos as a youngster. He spent his early career doing all sorts of hands-on mechanical jobs, from furniture work to building research equipment for the U.S. government.

Years later, though, he turned his Lego hobby into a business.

“I had been entertaining nieces and nephews with it, but then I took a more serious look at it because the parts had gotten a lot more sophisticated,” Parker explained.

Sophisticated is an excellent word to describe the latest EMP exhibit. Check out more photos below:

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