Modular houses standard
The Modular Houses Standard (sometimes Cafe Corner or CC Standard) is a curious hybrid standard of an official LEGO design and a Fan developed theme begun with the introduction of the Cafe Corner in 2007. It began as a subtheme of LEGO Factory yet neither the premier set in the series, Cafe Corner, nor the third set, Green Grocer (10185), were originally listed in the Factory subsection of LEGO.com but they are usually grouped together in print materials and in LEGO Brand Stores. The second set in the series Market Street was numbered 10190 which leads to questions about the company's classification system.
What is it?
Buildings (homes, businesses, services, etc) built to minifig scale following specific guidelines that allow for connections to neighbouring modules and the optional addition or subtraction of separate floor modules within a given building.
- Baseplates - Buildings in this standard are built on multiples of 32 stud x 16 stud baseplates. Usually used singly or in pairs, there is no stated limit other than the space available.
- Connnection - Joining the adjacent modules are two technic bricks with a hole on each side of the building. These bricks are placed 9 studs from the front and back leaving 10 studs between them.
- Build area - The standard incorporates sidewalks of 8 studs at the front which leaves a single stud in front of the connection bricks. If a similar alleyway is left at the back that creates a 16 studs wide x 16 studs deep area for building. The alleyway is not required but eliminating it altogether may interfere with cooperative displays.
- Applying these guidelines to both front and back leaves a possible build area (on a single 16x32 baseplate) of up to 16x18. Using multiple baseplates in a single building creates a maximum build area of 32x18, 48x18 or even larger.
- Height - The recommended height is around 9 bricks per story. Optionally floors of the building may be removable allowing the builder to add or remove floors and access the interiors for building or play.
- Sidewalks - The surface of the sidewalks in all sets released in the series have been created using tiles. Using plates with studs showing is more attractive to many builders who espouse a studs showing aesthetic and/or appreciate the flexibility of fig and detail placement possible with exposed studs.
The influence of Adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) in the design of this series of sets can clearly be seen when comparing the sets to MOCs created for Train displays over the years. The standard borrows especially from Train displays which have long featured more realistic buildings built on baseplates and designed to be easily moved and re-arranged. The use of pins to join modules has long been a feature of collaborative standards such as the Classic Castle City standard. The late Eric Brok, a noted AFOL, was hired by the company and designed Market Street (10190), the second set in the series.
It can also be described as a fan developed theme as not only did fans play a significant role in the design of the standard but the number and variety of creations that adhere to the standard nearly renders the official company's contributions moot.
- See also: The LEGO Neighborhood Book.
- Building Modular Houses section of LEGO.com (as archived by the Internet Archive.)
- How-To: Modular Buildings on Eurobricks.
- Brick Town Talk blog inspired by the Cafe Corner and Modular Houses.
- LEGO Cafe Corner buildings Flickr group.
- Modular Standards for Lego City Buildings from article by Aliencat.