This story appears to have it all: architecture, LEGOs, Star Wars, and controversy. The Telegraph reports that the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria (TCCA) has taken offense at LEGO’s latest miniature plastic toy, a replica of Jabba the Hutt’s Palace from the Star Wars trilogy. While some are calling the absurdity of the move a spoof, the group alleges the model is based on the architecture of Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia and the Jami al-Kabir Mosque in Beirut, and fills the two revered symbols of the Islamic world with armed criminals. Jabba the Hutt is the slug-like alien and crime boss who maintained a mixed-relationship with smuggler-turned-hero Han Solo, at one point cryogenically freezing Solo.
According to the Telegraph, the TCCA said on its website (in German), “It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.” It has called on LEGO to apologize for the creating negative views of their culture and is considering legal action. A spokesperson for LEGO denies any link between Jabba’s Palace and the Hagia Sofia.
Yesterday, New York real estate blog Curbed picked up a rather nerdy feature in the UK-based Architect’s Journal: their top ten list of the most important buildings from Star Wars. In addition to judging each project by aesthetic and programmatic merit, the journal draws parallels between the architecture of that galaxy and that of earth. Notables include the Cloud City of Bespin (“a well-appointed luxury resort… complete with hotels and casinos”), the Bright Tree Village on Endor (“rated BREEAM Excellent, the development—by architect Wicket W Warrick—makes use of locally sourced materials, is carbon neutral, and far exceeds Endor’s notoriously strict building regulations”), and Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine (“originally built as a monastery by the B’omarr Monks”). The “run-away winner” however is the second Death Star (“a menacing spherical chunk of Brutalist infrastructure”).