A sweet future: DMA at Gingerbread City

DMA was one of 60 architects, designers and engineers involved in Gingerbread City: an annual exhibition created by the Museum of Architecture at the V&A Museum in London.  With a theme of ‘Imagining the Future City’, the exhibition was a playful way to connect the public with architecture during the Christmas period.

DMA designed the city’s premier leisure destination with a towering sugar glass structure, ‘Burj al Cookies ‘n’ Cream’, illuminating the skyline.  The gingerbread hotel features all the amenities of a luxury 5 ‘cookie’ hotel including vibrant ground floor areas, inclusive public realm space, an ice rink and bar, fashionable roof terrace, and helipad.  Embracing cookie cutting-edge technology and eco-friendly design the building incorporates UV-filtering ‘sugar-glazing’ (patent pending), a tasty ‘green’ roof to the high-level bar and cookie-car charging points.

Gingerbread architect Sneha Baptista:

“This was a brilliant project to be involved in. Edible materials gave the Gingerbread City designers the chance to experiment with form, structure, proportions and ornament to create buildings that are playful, but also pose questions about the way we live in cities.”

The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City proposes that our forward-thinking cities of the future will be inclusive and easy to navigate, while also being sustainable and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.  The city is based on a masterplan created by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design following three key planning principles: high density construction, new transportation models and a variety of green spaces.

Gingerbread model-maker Alex Armistead:

“Working on our Gingerbread City entry has reignited my passion for modelmaking and sculpting spaces with my hands. It was fantastic to see the collaboration between architects, designers and baking enthusiasts taking shape.”

Project manager of the Burj al Cookies ‘n’ Cream, YooJin Lee:

“It was a great experience managing such a unique project, creating a gingerbread hotel from concept to completion. It was a busy time for us in the office, so my main challenge was to ensure every professional in the team could focus on their tasks and deadlines. I’m happy to say we delivered the project on time and on budget!”

DMA’s star baker, Gillian Moren:

“Having previously only ever constructed a pre-made kit, the challenge of an edible 65cm-high construction that had to withstand moisture and heat for over five weeks was somewhat daunting. There were endless experiments in working out the strongest and best colour results in sugar glass which was transformed with the use of LED lighting inside.  One of the main limitations of making such a tall building was the size of a baking tray that fits in a standard oven, as well as making the building structurally sound enough to transport in a taxi to the V&A!”

Now in its third year, the Gingerbread City exhibition is the Museum of Architecture’s annual fundraising project that supports its year-long programming and activities. This year it was open to the public from 8 December 2018 until 6 January 2019.