A cross section of an early 17th century Miniland university. Inside there is the anatomical theatre, where the minifigure's inner workings are explored. This MOC is a big brick salute to medical science!
About this creation
There is a very interesting story about how the Classical view on the human body was thrown away like used toilet paper. The reason to throw it away was simple enough; there turned out to be a hell of a lot more than only blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile to make a human body tick.
The theory of the four humors is credited to the Greek physician Hippocrates, who lived around 400 BC, but may have been around long before that. The idea is that anyone (or any living thing) has these four fluids; blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. If one is healthy they are balanced, but if the balance is tipped, a person is sick.
The theory of humorism was scrutinously studied and described by the Roman physician Galen (Aelius Galenus, 129 - 200 AD), who made rather accurate anatomical drawings of what he saw during his vivsection experiments. The accurateness of the drawings supported the theory, but he was very, very wrong on some important facts. For example, that there is one bloodflow carrying pneuma, the breath of life, and another bloodflow carrying food from the liver to the rest of the body. The heart's role in this was to produce warmth for the body...
Medical science, just as all the sciences, came to a dead stop everywhere that Christianity was adopted. Human dissection has been a touchy subject in civilisations throughout the ages, but now it would not return for well over a thousand years. Until well into 16th century people just stuck with the theory of the four humors. You would be burned to the stake for performing anatomy experiments on human cadavers. Oddly enough the powers that be never have had any ethical issues with cutting up living bodies for all the noble reasons such as conquest, enslavement and domination...
But where the renaissance rooted around 1500, scientific discovery came into bloom. The new age gave birth to some of the greatest minds humanity has ever known! One of them was Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 - 1519). Human anatomy was one of his many interests. As with many things, Leonardo was well beyond his time, a time where dissection of humans was still stricktly forbidden. He secretly performed dissections on freshly dug up, stolen corpses, until he was ordered to stop. Leonardo da Vinci's work remained unpublished until 1680, but was still wrong in many details, and still in agreement with the classical theory.
So it was up to two other geniuses to shake up the medical world. Andreas Vesalius founded modern anatomy (1514 - 1564). He discovered some important flaws in Galen's classical theory of humorism. Vesalius pushed medical science in high gear. William Harvey (1578 - 1657) made the greatest anatomical discovery to be made on the dissection table; he was the first to describe the double circulation of blood correctly. Briefly put, this is how the heart pumps blood to the lungs to collect oxygen, which than returns to the heart that pumps the blood with the oxygen to the rest of the body. The blood then returns to the heart to repeat this double cycle.
The next revolutions in medical science would be on ever smaller scales and anatomy became out of fashion. The invention of the microscope by Antonie van Leeuwehoek (1632 - 1723) lead to the discoveries of microorganisms, cell build tissues and many, many more. Microscopic observation also definately proved Harvey's theory of double closed blood circulation; now scientist could see the tiniest of blood vessels, the capillaries that connected the oxygen rich arteries with the oxygen low veins.
The last revolution of medical science would come a lot in later in 1953, when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered DNA. DNA is the recipe for an organism; it tells what it is made of and how it is made. Now, nearly sixty years later, the impact of that discovery still rings through and the biochemical pathways still have some misty sidetracks. Medical science is far from done, we have but scratched the surface of the wonders in the biochemical universe.
The Legoversity of Medicine was inspired by my fascination for that golden age when scientific discovery came out of hiding and showed humanity how beautiful they are; the people, every life around them, the world in which they live, and the universe it revolves and evolves in. The beauty of what makes life alive is reflected in the elegance of science, science is art.
There are many tricks in this MOC, in this section below I'll describe them in some detail as I rant about the frustrations I bumped into during construction.
This MOC was built inside out starting with the anatomical theatre. I reused the same trick I used for the theatre in Blockerdam but basically replaced chairs with tiles, and did an awful lot of smoothing out afterwards. The trick is to build a classic curved wall with 1x2 bricks and 1x1 barrel bricks, with (in this MOC) five layers of protruding plates. The plates on the lowest level are the longest, and on the upper level shortest. To have all plates meet tip to tip with the smallest possible gap is a mathematical conundrum well beyond my capability; I just kept trying and trying and trying...
With the benches for the theatre ready there was a big decision to be made; how big was the building around it going to be? On its own it did not look that big at all, but to leave myself some wiggle room the building was to be 48 studs wide! I rushed to build the first floor, from the back to the front around the theater; I wanted to build the front wall.
The ground floor front wall was thrown together in a classic design without to much effort; I needed a quick base for the swooping stair design I was toying with. The stairs are an adaptation of the trick to create the steps in the mountain of the Avatar temple, but this time left open and regularly spaced. The trick is to connect the steps with only one stud that is not tiled, and twist it around the desired angle.
The doors in the front wall are inspired by AP's rise of the mage MOCs. Thank you man, I love that door design! I am not sure if AP was first with it, but he was the first where I saw it. Another trick are the tops of the columns with gears, I don't know whom to credit it to, but it has been done before...
With the front done, and still an empty ground floor interior, I built the hall interior. Nothing too remarkable in there, the floor of the balcony floor is a brick wall laid flat. This is a brick efficient away to make studless, smooth floors. This trick is all over this MOC...
To make one large or two small classrooms on the third floor was a tough decision that fell on two because it would allow a more open sideview in the MOC. The trick to solve not having enough books to fill two closets, was to stuff them with suitcases and laptops.
Despite my best efforts, there was still a little error to fix in the roof; the front wall and the interior front wall were not equally heigh... There was no way to adjust the height of either one without throwing the design or the proportions in disarray. The last minute fix was to build a thick and a thin roof slab. The trick I was going to use for the roof I knew well in advance; the same concept as on my Kerstal MOC, but straight. Too bad it turned out to be impossible to not fully press the plates together, it was too large for that... In the end I gave up trying and went for the solidly pressed together roof, which is also fine, but lacks a bit in contrast.
With the building pretty much done except for some interiors, the garden came next. The large tree is a trick I came up in building a Monty Python MOC; at the heart of the tree runs a flexible pin and multiple branches have a clip brick to hook onto it in a spiral. This way the trunk gets a twist and will start to lean. The other tree is an old trick of connecting leaves with flowers. I weaved a large tapestry in search of something to cover a concept design for the outer wall, that I rolled up and knitted together like a sock. This sock is put over a prefab conifer tree.
The center pathway has a warp in it that is allowed by the margin of fit of the 1x2 plates. I was left with a gap of about half a plate in the middle of the pathway. By loosening all the 1x2 plates in the path I hid the gap. This turned out pretty cool as it gives the pathway the contrast the roof lacks.
As I was toying with different ideas for the gardens, I also set out on furnishing the ground floor; the morgue and the cabinet of curiosities. Nothing to exotic here, except the use of large gates as the back panel of the cupboards.
A trick seen often enough, but new for me, is to use halberds for a fence. I was short three bley halberds and used dark ones instead, I hid these off coloured halberds under the blue flowered plant...
The last trick was the road. Building walls with a melee of textured bricks has been repeated in a number of, mostly horror themed MOCs by various builders. I kept it rather tidy and just laid it flat; walls laid flat as floors was, the recurring theme in this MOC. The sewers had to made, just because it could.
There were just three more blanks to fill in before it really was finished; The attic I just stuffed which as much crates and barrels as I could. Finally, there were two tiny rooms on the first floor at the back. On one side I put more crates and boxes, but the last one holds the skeletons in the closet. Literally skeletons in the closet, but there are so many in this MOC...
Thanks for viewing, please leave a comment. Be warned that if you want to search the internet on the subject of anatomy, you will encounter some gruesome images.
Wow! Another quality filled build. I love the operating theatre, with its curved banks of seating and the box of surgeons tools. The scene in the cellar, with Frankenstein's Monster is great, as is the cabinet of curiosities. We forget places like that used to be open to the public. I like chandeliers in the rooms and the skeleton on its golden stand. The ossuary at the end is a nice touch. Great building and an interesting read too.
Awesome down to the smallest detail. I spent a good 30 minutest going through everything, and it was worth it. Good thing most CFOLs won't go through the bulk of text, or you would be in for some drama :D