Architects Build Delicious Gingerbread City

By Paula Liu

From the small houses on a local street to the skyscrapers that dominate a city, all buildings have one thing in common—they were all built and designed by people. Hardworking construction workers work tirelessly to bring into fruition the dreams and aspirations of a building to life.

However, despite the hardworking efforts of the construction workers, there would be very little result without the plan and direction of the architects, who work their magic to mix imagination and physics together to create something spectacular.

And at this time of the year, when Christmas is nearing, architects need to work their magic in a different way—with something much sweeter than your average building material, not to mention a much tastier surprise.

This year, architects are switching up their traditional building materials for sugar and spice to create an edible city of the future made entirely from gingerbread at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, just to show that urban planning can be a whole lot of fun.

The museum’s annual exhibition will showcase the buildings made by the architects, designers, and engineers, all of whom have been asked to create a sustainable and inclusive city of the future.

Ovens are working in full capacity to bake more than 60 structures, and the city made of edible gingerbread features a fully functional cable car made of licorice. The city also features cycling lanes and pedestrians routes made of sugar.

The architects had to put up a sign to tell people not to eat the gingerbread houses because certainly, mishaps happen where outsiders just might not be able to help themselves to the sweet edible buildings.

“We had to be very careful when making it, suddenly you might be halfway through making something, and then, be like, ‘oh wait, where did that piece go,’ oh, an outsider had eaten it,” said Robert Nolan, an architect.

In addition, the architects from Holland Harvey designed a modern version of a homeless shelter—the practice is in the process of designing a real-life shelter for the British charity, Shelter from the Storm.

Among the gingerbread structures on display is also a pavilion designed by Foster and Partners that was built by a robot, which is a first for the exhibition, according to founder and director Melissa Woodford.

The annual gingerbread city exhibition will run from Dec. 8 to Jan. 6 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.