Mind your Manors

Look at the estate of this build from Bulix!

If my new gig writing for this lovely website doesn't work out, I've got a plan B - I'll become Queen of England! I mean, how hard can it be? I’ve already got being English down, I love barking orders at people, and I always wear a crown to work, despite the funny looks I get. I don't really know how the whole aristocrat/monarchy thing works, but I'm probably at least 8,977,434th in line to the throne, right? Right! All right! Queendom, here I come!

But while I wait for Buckingham Palace to become rightfully mine and my renovation team to get to work (it's gonna look great in hot pink), I need somewhere to stay. Somewhere worthy of my (potential) royalty. Somewhere like this build, Waddesdon Manor, by Bulix.

A talented Minecraft architect, Bulix was was kind enough to tell me a bit more about himself and his builds, so we all have something to read while we wait for the current Queen to be ousted. Hoorah!

Before finding Minecraft in 2011, Bulix was testing out his building talents with Lego. “The idea of assembling really basic components into complex structures always fascinated me,” he explains. “And Minecraft gave purpose to my creations, which was and is still a really appealing aspect of the game.

“I wasn’t just building houses for the sake of it, but in order to survive and thrive.”

Soon Bulix moved on from mere survival, to more complex creations. “It became a way for me to express myself,” he says, “the fact that it’s so easy to use and that it offers a large palette of colours and textures makes building in Minecraft a really pleasing and satisfying experience. It also allows me to share my creations through multiplayer.”

Almost all of Bulix’s extensive library of builds are reproductions of existing buildings, stemming from a love of renaissance architecture and a desire to shine fresh light on designs he feels have been unfairly lost to history.

“I have a special place in my heart for the renaissance revival style. My favourites are situated between the 13th and 19th centuries. These styles are renowned for their ornaments, balance and overall aesthetics. Every aspect has meaning, and some of these aspects date back as far as ancient Greece!”

“I look for structures that aren’t completely symmetrical and repetitive, which makes it more challenging and, I think, more aesthetically pleasing. What makes it harder is that I actively search for constructions that aren’t popular so that by reproducing them, I feel I’m paying tribute to those beautiful, neglected designs that too few appreciate fully.”

Bulix is enthralled by architecture. He pays such intense attention to the original structures that when he translates them into their Minecraft counterparts, he manages to capture the same sense of regality and majesty. It’s almost as if an actual renaissance master was at the keyboard, shovelling dirt blocks and smelting cobblestone.

“As I live in Switzerland, I’ve been more often exposed to European styles,” Bulix continues. “What fascinates me is the dedication that people put into designing all the beautiful monuments you come across when travelling. They could have stopped at the essentials; walls, windows, a roof. But instead, they added arches, ornaments, sculptures and so on. We do that because we humans were somehow given the ability to do so and that’s fantastic. Every style reflects the society it comes from and tells a story.”

As for the Waddesdon Manor build, Bulix says, “I could have done a bit more planning before undertaking this manor, that’s for sure. Usually, I draw an outline in-game that sets the scale, but this time, I simply started by building one of the front windows. Once I was satisfied with it, I just continued to build around it. I based my scale around one feature of the structure and adapted the rest to it. It worked out fairly well in this case, although I think I got lucky in some places.”

In spite of this, Bulix believes there’s a big difference between this build and his last - a reproduction of the Moszna castle. A big part of that is due to him joining the NewHeaven build team.

“Collaborating and sharing ideas with other builders has been beneficial for me,” he says. “I realised that my style was not up-to-date by looking at other people’s builds. I was over-detailing my structures, which is something I now know to avoid doing. Details are great, but like all good things, you shouldn’t overdo it. So, if you want to progress, joining a well-established build team should take you in the right direction.”

And if people are inspired to try and take on the same style? What’s Bulix's advice then?

“For that, you’ll need to be somewhat interested in architecture because if you truly find the structure you’re reproducing beautiful, you’ll be less likely to give up. It’s also crucial to find a proper scale, that allows you to put in as many details as you want. Drawing an outline first may help. Once that’s done, experiment until you’re satisfied with what you’ve made. Be careful with the amount of colour and details you use. And you might run into problems but, hey, it wouldn’t be fun otherwise.”

The manor even has an Enderman butler! If your butler isn't an Enderman, fire them immediately.

Well, I’ll certainly be eagerly awaiting Bulix’s next work! In the meantime, I guess I can keep up-to-date with him on Twitter and peruse his PlanetMinecraft page as I bide my time, waiting to overthrow the British monarchy.

Also, Bulix would like to thank the NewHeaven build team and Thurman. Since these guys have been helping Bulix out I’ll give them a knighthood or something once I’m in the palace. Everybody wins!

Renders by Iskillia