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Firm interview: Finegold Alexander Architects

Finegold Alexander Architects
Designer of The Sweetest Church in the 2017 Gingerbread Design Competition
Winners of Most Valuable Gingerbread (MVG), Golden Whisk (largest amount of donors), and Judge’s Choice: “So good it would convert an atheist” award 

Why did you choose to enter the BSA Foundation’s Gingerbread Design Competition?

We chose to enter because we believe in the mission of the BSA Foundation. Our firm shares the same values: a commitment to preserving and enhancing the built environment to create a vibrant, equitable, and sustainable future for our city. We also entered because it is a great community builder for our firm and quite simply, it’s a lot of fun!

What inspired your choice of the First Christ Scientist Choice as this year’s entry?

We initially had a handful of ideas to choose from, but this one got such excitement from the team we knew immediately—even though it was going to be a challenge—that this was it.  It is currently an on-going project in our office and in years past we’ve enjoyed tackling live projects and turning them into something sweet.

What was the most advanced architectural tool you used?

Templates, templates, templates! We created templates for the exterior walls (gingerbread) and glazing (sugar); tested materials throughout construction, and created mock-ups during construction administration.

What was the biggest building challenge you encountered? 

The scale and complexity of the building; The building is so large and has over 100 gingerbread pieces. We had to work at a very small scale to fit it onto the required base size. Also, keeping track of all these pieces while in construction to evaluate them against the plans, elevations, and 3D model was a challenge and tested our patience.

What was your favorite confection used in the design?

Team favorites include:
Ice cream cones for trees.
Edible spray paint for wall color.
Hershey’s Kiss at the top of the dome.
Poured sugar used for our frozen reflecting pool and curtain wall.
Mini black pearls were a very versatile material; Used as roof shingles and penguin eyes.

How much candy did your team eat during the process? 

Probably more than our dentists would care to know about; But it was for a good cause, we wanted to be sustainable so we had to recycle the unused material!

Fun Facts:

Materials Used:

  • 27 cups of flour
  • 6 cups of corn syrup
  • 4 cups of margarine
  • 17 cups of sugar

180 hours of construction

Read more about the 2017 Gingerbread Design Competition in the impact story here.