TEL AVIV - Tel Aviv residents have built a world record-contending, 36-metre (118ft) plastic brick tower, featuring more than 500,000 pieces, to honor a young cancer victim in the Israeli city.
The multi-coloured 'Omer Tower,' named after 8-year-old Lego fan Omer Sayag, was completed using cranes in Rabin Square on Wednesday after more than a fortnight's construction work by thousands of residents.
"It was the idea of his (Sayag's) former kindergarten teacher, and building blocks were donated by residents, companies and some were purchased using municipality funds," a spokesperson for the mayor's office said.
Before Sayag died of cancer, he was unable to meet friends or go outside due to his weak immune system. So he began to channel his creative energies into building complex and beautiful Lego constructions. His most ambitious project was a replica of the Taj Mahal, which he donated to the 2014 Lego exhibition.
Sayag was much loved and missed by his kindergarten teachers, Ben Klinger and Shirley Bardugo, who began thinking of how they could honor their student's memory. They first got the idea for a block tower when they visited his grieving family's home and discovered huge quantities of the bricks.
They contacted the Israeli educational group "Young Engineers" to find a special way to commemorate Omer. Young Engineers focuses on teaching science and engineering to children in Israel and around the world. Klinger and Bardugo came up with a plan, to build the highest tower ever built out of toy bricks for Omer, and Young Engineers were happy to help out.
“There are many technical challenges – ranging from the provision of hundreds of thousands of bricks, precise technical planning, quick but delicately transporting the constructed floors from the study centers to the tower site, three cranes to lift the tower that weighs over one ton, engineering reinforcement, safety engineers accompanying each phase and, most importantly, maximum coordination among all of the players," detailed Young Engineers founder Amir Asor. "Despite the challenges, we are pleased and proud to take part in this important project that found its way into our heart from day one. It reflects a great deal of love and positive memories that everyone can relate to.”
There was no Guinness World Records adjudicator on site to measure the 'Omer Tower,' meaning Tel Aviv must wait for approval from the body to confirm they have beaten the previous record of 35.05 meters (115 ft), built in Milan in 2015. Hagay HaCohen contributed to this report.