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Sugar-Based Specs: ‘Gingertown’ Designs Sweeten the Season


By Jill M. Speegle

More items for Color + Design

Chocolate, sprinkles, jelly beans and gumdrops may not meet the specifications of your typical “building materials.”


 Photos courtesy of David M. Schwarz Architects

Washington D.C.’s Gingertown will be on display in the lobby of the Washington Square building downtown through Friday, Dec. 1.

But these sugary treats are certainly “up to spec” for use in construction of three magical “Gingertowns” in Washington D.C.; Dallas, Texas; and Nashville, Tenn., this holiday season.

David M. Schwarz Architects started the GINGERTOWN initiative in D.C. in 2006 to raise money for charitable organizations.

Each year, the firm invites leading architects, designers and architectural firms for a “friendly competition” to create mini-gingerbread structures for these confection-encased cities.

 This year’s gingerbread village in D.C. features large casinos and nightlife on the “Elf Vegas” strip.

Schwarz Architects creates the “master plan” for the towns each year. This year’s theme is sure to inspire some of the most “sinful” in hand-crafted structures—“Elf Vegas.”

The architect and designer teams sign up for expansive lots to create all the essential town structures such as city halls, libraries, concert halls and shops. Zoning regulations are strictly enforced, the firm says.

Past “Gingertown” buildings have been designed by David M. Schwarz Architects, Bowie Gridley Architects, Cunningham Quill, Esocoff & Associates, Grimm and Parker, and WDG Architecture, just to name a few.

The mini-towns are exhibited to the public, donated and put on display at local hospitals and other community support organizations to spread joy in the holiday season, Schwarz Architects says.


The D.C. exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Washington Square building downtown through Friday, Dec. 2.

In Dallas, the Gingertown will be on display Wednesday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 3 at the NorthPark Center. The Nashville village will be displayed following the build event Thursday, Dec. 1 in the Loew’s Vanderbilt Plaza.

So if you have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, go check out the Elf Vegas villages in Dallas, Nashville and D.C.

Perhaps they will inspire you to reserve your lot for next year.

More information: http://gingertown.org.


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



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