Xavier Viloria, 24
Master Model Builder, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
His replica of MetLife Stadium is a 15,750-LEGO behemoth, a bona fide work of art—color-matched to the real thing, painstakingly lined with 1,200 LEGO Minifigure “fans,” and doused in intricate built-in lighting. It’s a far cry from Xavier Viloria’s earliest creations in the fourth grade, when his LEGO hobby took hold. Sculptures like the MetLife replica are impressive, but it was the model of a grand piano Viloria built during the final round of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester’s Brick Factor competition (Viloria was one of 12 to make it to the end) that led him, at 24, to his current role as the Yonkers location’s sole master model builder. He didn’t win Brick Factor, but he earned LEGOLAND’s respect—and a job offer.
Today, creations like a replica of One World Trade Center—which soars more than 11 feet high, weighs 100 pounds, and took some 260 hours to build—keep the respect coming.
Building these elaborate sculptures is an integral part of Viloria’s job; so is giving lessons to LEGOLAND visitors, particularly young ones, teaching them to make their own sculptures. It’s rewarding work for someone who, needless to say, thrives on LEGO building. “I try to get kids to start thinking and using their imaginations, which helps them succeed in other areas,” he says.
Viloria’s area, though, is, and most likely will remain, LEGO. He’s reached his zenith at the Yonkers location, but LEGOLAND operates a model-building center in California that Viloria hopes to graduate to one day. “Perhaps in the future,” he says, thinking long-term, “I’ll be able to go on tour, building large LEGO structures for different events throughout the country.”