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Engaging communities + Inspiring vision

5th Annual Gingerbread House Design Competition

Now in its fifth year, the CDRC Gingerbread Design Competition, Exhibition, and Auction is a fun and tasty way to highlight the delicious talents of Boston architecture firms, to challenge the designers to explore a new medium, and to raise funds for community design programs of the BSA Foundation.

Throughout the month of December, BSA Space was filled with the confectionary creations of eight architecture, interior design, and urban planning firms and their delicious interpretations of the theme: “Boston, You’re My Home.” From the elegant lines of the Gropius House to Back Bay alleyways filled with discarded Dunkin’ Donuts cups, each one of the gingerbread creations seemed to shout “Boston!” The houses attracted an immense amount of foot traffic through the gallery during the holiday season.

This event also serves as a unique fundraising auction. It’s not a typical auction—all bids count as donations. Bids of any amount (in $5 increments) were accepted online at The house that gathers the greatest grand total of donations wins the competition and gets to take home the coveted Golden Spatula. The house that gathers the greatest number of bids—of any amount—is also declared victorious of the Golden Whisk. Despite strong competition up to the final hours, Arrowstreet emerged the winner, capturing both the Golden Spatula and the Golden Whisk. Congratulations!

New this year was a panel of “celebrity” judges, who devised prizes of their own at the reception for the Gingerbread Reception, which took place on December 19, 2016. The panel of judges included: Julie Burros, chief of arts and culture, City of Boston; Addison Godine, founder, LiveLight and builder of the uhü; Didi Emmons, founding chef, Haley House Bakery Café; and Maura Kilpatrick, executive pastry chef/owner, Sofra Bakery and author of Soframiz.

Each of the celebrity judges picked a “winning” house as well as one or two “honorable mentions.” Julie Burros presented her award for “Most Likely to be Surreptitiously Licked by Children” to Michaela McGuire’s Old State House. An honorable mention for “Best Design Details” was awarded to Levi + Wong Design Associates’ Candywealth Avenue. Second honorable mention for “Overall Excellence in Construction” went to Safdie Architects, for The Things We Share in Common.

Addison Godine presented his award to the creation with the “Best Social Mission, yet Worst Financial Model (aka the Bernie Sanders Award),” which designLAB Architects took home for their construction, Moderate Delays in Service. An honorable mention for this same award was given to Safdie Architects, for The Things We Share in Common.

Didi Emmons presented an award for the construction she would “Most Like to Have With ME on an Island,” which went to LDa Architecture & Interiors, for Boston Block Party. Her two honorable mentions were for “Expressive and Fashionable People” (Safdie Architects/The Things We Share in Common) and “Most Realistic Portrayal of Boston” (Levi + Wong Design Associates/Candywealth Avenue).

Maura Kilpatrick presented a pair of awards for “Best Brick”—both in an architect’s style and in a pastry chef’s style. Levi + Wong Design Associates took home the award for “Best Brick—Architect Style” with their Candywealth Avenue house, and LDa Architecture and Interiors took home the award for “Best Brick—Pastry Chef Style” with their Boston Block Party house.

The auction ended at midnight on December 31, and raised over $4,000 for Community Design programs of the BSA Foundation. With $975 across 33 donations on their Boston cityscape “The Greenway—The Heart of Boston,” Arrowstreet not only raised the most money but engaged the most individual donors. Congratulations as well to LDa Architecture and Interiors, who brought home the Silver Spatula for their “Boston Block Party” with $960 in donations. Safdie Architects, a first-time competitor, delivered a breathtaking rendition of Boston Common (“The Things We Share in Common”) and managed to take home the Silver Whisk, with 30 individual donations.

This good fun supports serious work. Community design programs of the BSA Foundation provide design assistance to neighborhoods and community organizations in need, and work to bring neighborhood voices into larger design and planning processes. During the past year, the BSA Foundation has been involved in projects in Roslindale, East Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, working on issues from climate resiliency to healthy schoolyards to affordable neighborhood housing.

Thank you to these architecture firms for their inspired baking (in alphabetical order):

Arrowstreet (Boston)
Catherine Truman Architects (Cambridge)
Colin Smith Architecture (Lexington)
designLAB architects (Boston)
LDa Architecture & Interiors (Cambridge)
Levi + Wong Design Associates (Concord)
Michaela McGuire (Boston)
Safdie Architects (Somerville)

View images below from this exhibition. 

Photos courtesy of Gretchen Rabinkin AIA.

To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. On the tour, board members and volunteers will tell stories about how Foundation programs, and the power of design, are positively changing the lives of real people. Meet the BSA Foundation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.