Brynjar Karl Bigisson played with his first Lego bricks when he was five.
By the time he was 10, he fused his interest in the Titanic with the interlocking bricks, developing an idea that eventually became a 26-foot long model of the doomed liner.
It took 700 hours, 56,000 bricks and more than $10,000, donated by family and friends, to build. His grandfather, an engineer, helped him with the blueprints.
Brynjar Karl Bigisson used 56,000 Lego bricks to create his Titanic replica. (Photo courtesy Titanic Pigeon Forge)
The giant, scale model took Brynjar, 15, who is from Reykjavik, Iceland, all over the world touring with the ship and talking about overcoming his autism.
"This whole journey has helped me out of my autistic fog. Although I’m still autistic and will always be, I have trained myself to be ‘as normal as possible,’" he said. "I was totally unable to communicate when I started the project and now I’m standing on stage and giving interviews. It has given me confidence. When I started the building process I had a person helping me in school in every step that I took, but today, I’m studying without any support. My grades have risen and my classmates consider me as their peer. I have had the opportunity to travel and explore and meet wonderful people."
The Titanic Lego ship has been on display at the largest mall in Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Hamburg, before finding a final resting place at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
"I never imagined my project would make such impact," Brynjar said. "Things just evolved and we followed the flow. But I’m very honored and happy that my project was an inspiration to so many others -- also motivation to follow your own dreams."
Brynjar said his Lego building days are behind him but not his fascination with ships.
"I never built anything after the Titanic," he said. "I turned more towards exploring ships and their stories because I’m interested in becoming a captain when I grow up."