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Architects Specify Sweet Holiday Fun

Friday, December 23, 2016

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It’s that time of year: When architects turn to alternative building materials that must display strength, stability, and just a pinch of nutmeg.

Gingerbread architecture, in some places, has grown far beyond the four walls and a roof that many put together as kids. In London, for example, a group of well-known architecture firms participated in the Gingerbread City display, with echos of London itself.

Gingerbread Brutalism

Gingerbread City, hosted by the Museum of Architecture and sponsored by planning firm Tibbalds, features complex (and often punny) structures mimicking buildings of the past and present. The display includes a “candy crane” and “Crump Tower," and ranges from cookie castles to examples of gingerbread brutalism.

Firms taking part include Foster and Partners (the architects behind the real-world “Gherkin” tower), Carl Turner Architects and Platform 5.

While Gingerbread City is tasty fun, there’s also an intellectual element to it.

“Gingerbread City is about broadening the discussion about what makes a good place, and encouraging those not normally involved in architecture, design or construction to think a bit more about where they live, or where they work and how it impacts on them and others around them,” Hilary Satchwell, director of Tibbalds, told The Telegraph. “How does it make them feel? How do they think cities should work? What should they contain?”

Houston Build Off

Architects in Houston had their own chance to show off their confectionary design skills this year as part of the eighth annual Gingerbread Build Off, presented by the Architecture Center Houston.

Brave Architecture winning entry
Images courtesy Architecture Center Houston

Top honors at the Houston competition went to Brave / Architecture for the firm’s untitled entry.

Top honors at that competition went to Brave / Architecture for the firm’s untitled entry, a wintry terrace sloping toward a body of water. Brave’s entry took “Best Non-Traditionally Themed” honors as well.

Other special prizes included “Tallest Standing Structure,” awarded to Jackson & Ryan Architects for their “Lighthouse” entry.

Jackson Ryan entry

“Tallest Standing Structure” was awarded to Jackson & Ryan Architects for their “Lighthouse” entry.

In contrast with the serious nature of the London display, the Houston contest was a family affair, with many teams featuring kids along with adults from professional firms. The competition also had a high school challenge, won by a team from Klein Forest High School, for their miniature Astrodome.



Tagged categories: Architecture; Competitions; Design

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