Boy with autism builds world’s biggest titanic replica using 56,000 LEGOs

September 4th, 2020

Brynjar Karl’s story is about so much more than LEGOs.

The Icelandic boy was just 10 years old at the time his story first went viral – and since then he’s been using people’s interest in his giant LEGO project to raise awareness about autism.

“Brynjar the LEGO Titanic builder” first got his nickname when he decided to build a roughly 20-foot-long (6.33 meters) replica of the doomed ocean liner Titanic.

There was just one problem.

By his calculations, he needed about 56,000 LEGOs to do it.

Try making THAT request to your parents!

But the young man was dedicated to the endeavor and decided he would crowdfund the materials, earning international attention along the way.

He not only got all the LEGOs he needed, but dedicated roughly 700 hours over 11 months to building the ship.

It wasn’t easy or straightforward, but Karl said the challenges all had a positive impact on him.

“…it was after the building was complete that my transformation truly began. Now I use my story to raise awareness about autism and try my best to shed a positive light on my brothers and sisters on the spectrum,” he says on his website.

The young man, who is now 17, acknowledges that he was struggling before the tiny plastic bricks changed his life:

“LEGO has been an important part of my life since a very early age,” he told Bored Panda. “Because of my poor social and communication skills, I was always on my own, playing by myself, so LEGO bricks became my best friends. While building with LEGO, I was using and developing my imagination and creativity. I don’t remember feeling lonely, I was too busy building something.”

While Karl put together the ship by himself, preparing for the project required the help of some supportive family members.

“My grandfather, Lulli, helped me to create special LEGO instructions on the real Titanic blueprints,” he said.

Meanwhile, his mother helped him set up the crowdfunding site he used to raise money to buy the LEGOs.

“Also, I was offered space in a warehouse to build the model and I came every day after school and built for 3-4 hours for 11 months until I finally finished my LEGO Titanic model,” he told Bored Panda.

His interest in ships has never waned and now the high school student spends summer working on a ferry and hopes to become a captain one day.

He credits his LEGO project with helping him open up to people, learn to communicate, and make friends.

“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,” he told CNN.

Not only has Brynjar Karl given a TED Talk on the role his Titanic model played in helping manage his autism disorder, but there is a documentary about him as well! It’s called How the Titanic Became My Lifeboat.

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YouTube Screenshot - TED X Talks Source: YouTube Screenshot - TED X Talks

Now, Karl is hoping that schools, organizations, and companies will host screenings of the documentary to spur discussions about diversity and making spaces more friendly for those on the autism spectrum.

Be sure to scroll down below to see his talk and the documentary trailer.

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Source: Bored Panda, Facebook – Brynjar Karl,, YouTube – Bjarney ludviksdottir, CNN