10 Sweet Designs From Architizer’s Gingerbread Competition

Raquel Laneri Raquel Laneri

Last night, we imagine many of you were catching planes to visit loved ones, slaving over your Christmas roasts, or catching up on your last-minute holiday shopping before Christmas Eve. But we at Architizer HQ spent the evening looking at lots and lots of gingerbread houses.

That’s right: We were making our final judgements on our second annual Gingerbread Competition, and we must say: It was tough! Dozens and dozens of you submitted photos of your extraordinary creations, which ranged from Victorian manses and modernist classics to green roofs and even a moon base! Many paid homage to real-life architects (from the immensely popular Frank Lloyd Wright to the more obscure installation artist Gordon Matta-Clark), while some came from your own imaginations. But all exhibited great skill.

In the end we did pick one winner—a group of architecture students whose craftsmanship really blew us away—but we’ve also decided to highlight some of our other favorite submissions. Without further ado, here are the 10 sweetest designs from Architizer’s Gingerbread Competition.

Winner: Guggenheim Museum in New York

Team: Aarhus Group
Team members: Sigrid Gilberg, Annika Andersen and Idunn Hylland
What they said: “Three architect students’ interpretation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim museum in New York. Our mission was to let the gingerbread house style meet the sophisticated and modern masterpiece of Lloyd Wright. It became quite a research project as well, exploring the gingerbread’s potential as a material.”
Why we love it: The (sugar-spun?) “glass” roof sealed the deal for us. But the detailing and the meticulous neatness overall is pretty impressive. Congrats, Sigrid, Annika, and Indunn! We’ll be contacting you about your iPad mini soon!

Mini Gingerbread Tower

Team: Perkins+Will Boston
Team members: Matt Pierce, Jiseok Park, Chris Karlson
What they said: “For our gingerbread house, our team created a parametric abstraction of a residential tower using the module of just the iconic gingerbread man. The tower rises almost 3 feet tall with 500 units (gingerbread men) and comes complete with an on-site hydraulic power station.”
Why we love it: They had us at “parametric abstraction.” (Very on-trend.) A creative out-of-the-box approach to the standard gingerbread house. Also: an on-site hydraulic power station!!!

Less Is More

Team members: Marian Martinez and Laura M. Leung
What they said: “The model represents the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929. The materials we used are all edible: gingerbread for the main structure and the travertine pavers, gelatin for the glass, licorice for the cruciform columns and window profiles, fondant mixed with edible color cake for the texture of the three different marble walls, candy for the swimming pools and caramel for gluing and assembling. It was really fun to work on this gingerbread house and we hope we managed to reflect somehow the essence and main ideas of Mies in our model.”
Why we love it: Takes on a minimalist masterpiece with appropriate restraint.

Zaha Hadid’s Bergisel Ski Jump

Team: Perkins + Will Team 7
Team members: Jennifer Rheaume, Michael Bongiorni, Alec Templeton, Alec Zebrowski, Kristine Dudley, Xi Liu
What they said: “We are architects. We design athletic facilities. In the spirit of our profession, we decided to build an iconic sports structure: Zaha Hadid’s Bergisel Ski Jump.”
Why we love it: Love that they eschewed the “house” part and went for this unconventional structure. Plus, a ski jump is perfect for the season (and oh so fun).

A Very Gordon Matta-Clark Christmas

Team members: Matthew Keeshin, David Keeshin, and Bonnie Katz
What they said: “No fighting, no snacking, a family of artists who love to bake created this original and playful reinterpretation of the holiday icon.”
Why we love it: A tribute to one of our favorite installation artists, who sliced, diced, and cut open abandoned buildings during the 1970s.

Unnamed Project

Team: Catharina Arehög
What she said: “Since it’s Christmas time and I’m an exchange student from Sweden, where it is more popular to make gingerbread houses than in England, I decided to make an advanced edible model to show my course mates how we do it back home. I designed an innovative sheltered housing development with 9 units, [a] carer’s house, and [a] communal space with restaurant. I made the dough myself, green roof symbolized by dyed icing and desiccated coconut, roads of black dyed quinoa, people as gummy bears, Swedish-imported Ahlgren’s cars—everything else made of pure gingerbread and glued together with melted sugar. It took me a week to put so much love into this, therefore soon we will eat it and celebrate Christmas!”
Why we love it: The green roof! And in true sustainable fashion, she’s going to eat the structure instead of letting it go to waste. (Also, those are some pretty serious plans on her wall!)

Gropius/Breuer Redux

Team: Emily Morash
What she said: “Incorporating the vertical clapboards and entrance of the Gropius House in Lincoln, MA, this house recalls the best of America at mid-century.”
Why we love it: This is so pretty: the colors are lovely. And we love the clapboards.

The Christmas Pavilion

Team: Team Snowball
Team members: Christin Zitter, Paul Schillemans
What they said: “We attempted to recreate one of our favorite buildings (Mies van der Rohe pavilion), if it was set in a winter wonderland instead of Barcelona!”
Why we love it: The adorable Barcelona chairs! (And the penguins.)

Gingerbread Chemosphere

Team members: Ivaylo Getov and Amelia Steely
What they said: “The house is gingerbread, frosting, fruit-leather windows and pretzel supports. The hill is ginger-molasses cake, frosting, nuts and mint.”
Why we love it: Because we don’t usually see this LA icon in gingerbread form.

Not Grimm!

Team: Kok-Loong Wong
What she said: “Radical visuals of precisely engineered simple components & adventurous flavors: fresh wasabi and ginger. The design is anything but Grimm.”
Why we love it: The elegant simplicity really speaks to us after seeing so many gobs of frosting and kitschy candy canes. Also, this sounds like it would be the most delicious to eat afterwards.

Can’t get enough gingerbread? Make sure to check out 9 modernist confectionary masterpieces as well as the winners of last year’s competition.

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