Replicating the Vatican, Brick by Brick

Pennsylvania priest constructs model Vatican out of Legos.
14:22 | 09/09/15

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Transcript for Replicating the Vatican, Brick by Brick
Hi this is Charley James of ABC news did you at all we are in Pennsylvania at the Franklin institute. Pennsylvania and Billy are really excited about the Pope coming to visit here in just a couple of weeks and one of the many examples of that is this. Lego Vatican end here at the Franklin institute. And we are lucky enough to have father Bob Simon he would is the designer and builder of the Lego Vatican. Which is drying so many visitors here at the three time and fit yet. Let's take a little tour of this and tell us just. And this idea. Little boys lovely one to two become priests. It is building churches and even as the seventh grader had built the Vatican. When summer of much more crude version this was. To listen I started with the facade. And I just looked it photos. Very patiently painstakingly. Lifted at one doorway at a time. One balcony at a time when window at a time. And again to replicate. Was excited that everything seemed to come out better than I that I expected it. So let's talk some numbers here how many pieces how long that this tape you know. It took me ten months ago of adults Waco convention prepare Virginia. And I thought I was buying white put slots the white brick through about two years I thought I had plenty cotton and realize that I had that nearly enough. I think it's a fair estimate that there's about 500000. Bricks are so if they at least did here. I do know that all these cobblestones. In Saint Peter's Square they have their looms slaying. 44000. Of those I had about winning. More than enough. Realized it was less than half of what I needed. Same thing happened to be with the columns for the holidays. There's 6000. Do so bricks that knows I had about half of that have been realized it was a nearly enough. And so let's talk about some of these specific pieces so all of these pieces that we're seeing all of the figure in. Are. Where belts are you created that of original Lego pieces that backtracked. Right a lot of them are from Lagos that sob various cities that sort of the Lego Hamas rulers. That are available. Three story buildings. And as I was collecting votes they realize. From. The Vatican being a place I love and having bitten it several times and knew I needed nuns that I needed to find some Lego nuns and priests and cardinals and and bishops of things though of that sort as well. And so we've got them up packet of a group of nuns over here can you just tell us what the key says. Where did you get these pieces from. The head chances say is a Star Wars please. Two types of addresses the values. Both from Star Wars they seemed the only thing really available. And then it's just a plain black torso. And a black smoke fumes that is often use. By late go to show somebody wearing lycra dress there while. And defined and it hasn't what looks like a bit that you set at that they need it big pertinent. That I used. You know part of the traditional nun's habit. But he took pieces from all kinds of different that Star Wars or seventies that skewed too great experience but there aren't too. Special pieces that are original. You punish. One is clearly on in this process. From the minds of junior high schools that is different than mine from high school. He made this constant figure out. Only problem with that is the totally gray here. There when he made this little priest to represent himself I place myself. Detroit the fact that Olson that's taking it all again. But the other constant that you wouldn't invite youth minister from my and it's the Pope Francis. Couldn't figure right about. That came from a little light understand mom and pop operation of Lago fans in the united. And so we've you brought this. Here you didn't create that here how did you transport you originally showed it at elect a convention but right. It transports. The facade. Is one that's the largest piece and then leave the dome. There's a piece that they just sat on the floor of a man thank heaven was. Make the move of the walls breaking into of the church. Break into about twelve pieces and the roof into for a flat pieces of course we'll. The call an aide had to be built here outside. Have the pieces spots carefully. And then the the plates they would lose lose cobblestones. They were stacked up about recruited it's together but many of the the cobblestone. Children and replace right here on site so it took about two full day. Throughout this that this they're on side. And viewers you should know that there is no glue involved or if he saw the Lego movie what they call crack hope that the that nothing include doubt is that considered in the lake a building where all this. Kind of cheating if you are if you tea fragile freeze government. I think a lot of adult go to settle myself. It's sort of round gluing them they could only be used for that purpose. You know maybe there's something exciting about the risk. It you know it stay together. And it's it's really nice and realistic in a way how you used all kinds of different figurines. And what I really love him. The the figure in that are holding up. That are holding up cell phone. Video of a number of them including a non that's holding up the cellphone if we look over here and so there is none here. What are the I enjoyed like the Vatican itself is is bringing tradition and you know ritual than. In this incredible place together with the modern world so showing. That's maybe epitomized and then done with Smartphone. You know and in front of her but it also seems to be directories that whether is eyewitness the rate master. Bringing me. Facility designed to pollinate wanted to do his vision he wanted to show the pollinate to be like the arms of a mother embracing the world. You know it it's so great welcome to leverage one of France's. Seems to a live. That out flesh that out so well for us. Tune. Transit will be coming season minivans are perfect and I don't think Slobodan. That he realized that. Want to point out to our viewers is that you mentioned that you've been a big leg up Anthony Stewart head. And are actually you tried to build days many Vatican when your child is love track that's. And there are few pieces here you can point them out for us that are actually from. Your childhood. With snow. At the top of the jobless. As I noticed about the little more yellow. Then the other pieces of the obelisk but it's right under their crimes and that I think it was a stop sign when I was a little boy. And the top heart broke off may be deliberately sought you know so that I could use that as the cap for the jobless. And then on the facade. There are some yellow wrecks that iron are present on the facade. And those yellow brick sight there because it's a very old building a monumental ancient building. There were also there because there is attempting on those lower levels. But they're there because a sentimental reasons for me there the yellow bricks from when I was little polite and included and then finally. Some of the priest figures. That this collar is simply a little sticker that. Its allies made little priest many figures when I was a polite. And actually. Some of the Lagos that I had. From when I was a bloody when I when I went to refurbish some of those there was still a little lot sticky spot. I'm black torso from the Holler I made on that Lago as as a child. Vatican decades in the making hair and Vatican that Lego attic and and you've been parent at the museum from days to speak with people. Have you been what have you been hearing from people who have visited and have you been surprised at all by their reaction. The of the vessel. Energy to do this it's just exciting to have people enjoying it you know and attracted to it. I headed email this morning from somebody couple was out of date they have searched on my email Lisa thank you for sharing this with so many people but. It's really rewarding to see the smile on Childs face especially this gets out we'll play. Really inspired to bill. Enjoy the urging them to kids do. Break. Look at what window at a Time Warner fired at a time this break and it just all these. Great thank you so much for sharing nothing giving us a little more of this Lego Vatican and it really is. Quite amazing that he's Helen. That time that you and it's that you put into that an app for it it's really parents and thank you so much. Them for speaking with us really appreciate it and down we're also going to speak now with Larry and he he is the president and CEO of the Franklin institute which is aware. The Lago Vatican is being shown here in Philadelphia. And so tell me a little bit about how people have been reacting in the number of people who have been coming here again. It's been really the Lago batting. Has been well received here in Philadelphia the institute right now has an exhibit art break which they say. Lago inspired exhibition that has really set records here institute. And we've had over 300000 people view that exhibits and its natural extension. With the Pope how excited we are in Philadelphia have hope Francis here to have the Vatican. Lago exhibition here in the people that have come and seen and you'll see people just linger. For a long time because they're taking in every little piece and over. Half a million pieces of Lago putting together what an inspiration for young here in all the life. And it's what a coincidence that you just happen to have these two exhibits on the art of the wreck which is a Lago art exhibit. And then soon opening we're gonna give you sneak peek in the little bed is the Vatican splendor is. Which is art and artifacts from the Vatican. And this. This Lego Vatican just really encapsulates the two of the and and such timing I know people are so excited here in Philadelphia about the Pope coming. How does this play into that excitement. Yeah I think this is a natural extension what's gonna happen here in Philadelphia we're so excited here at the institute has Vatican splendor. It'll be one. Two sites in North America in which over 200 objects. From the Vatican museum won't come here to Philadelphia and be on display starting next week. Only through February but it really is because of France's in the world meeting of the images here in Philadelphia and millions of people we're gonna descended on Philadelphia. And for us as a top. Cultural institution. In the country to be able to host Vatican's lenders and then also. Part of the break and then to have a Lago Vatican that really brings them all together is pretty exciting and in the visitors have reacted so positively. So how does the fragments to work to get this here in so father Bob actually reached out us and we were so excited to hear it. That we work with him to get it here he actually hate crime scene of much of the work for. But here he actually put it together. Twenty pieces together at the final pieces together and sort visitors were able to watch him. Killed with the lakers here in our atrium in that was part of the excitement as well people guess what it was going to be invading no off the bat with the Vatican. They thought maybe it was the was the Franklin institute being built but when they saw what in the light it was just really exciting but visitors there so we are excited to bring it in in the timing. Could be at. And so finally at people want to come and yet how long lanky hair so great so. This Lago Vatican will be here where you where it. February well as will Vatican splendor the Vatican exhibit that's here's Salim urged people to come and see that. Part of the break is here only for a limited time and opinions October 4 so we encourage people to come and visit great exhibits and obviously great. Interesting addition here with the Vatican Lagos and part of the break Vatican splendor to look for missing votes in Philadelphia. Great so if you are coming to Philly either to see the Pope or any time between now and February. Be sure to come down to the Franklin institute and check out this. Lego Vatican and pictures are great but I really seeing in her city and see all the details part that's been evidence yet. We will it be back with Larry in few minutes two. Take it exclusive look at the Vatican planners are going to be on boxing a few of these artifacts. And pieces for us a look at some. Be sure to stay with us for that we'll be back and about when he minutes.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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