Gingerbread House Design


Sunday afternoon the kids created their very first gingerbread house.  The dynamics of a 10-year old brother and 3-year old girls working on an art project together was as priceless as it was frustrating!  Our Type A, 10-year old wanted full design control.  He had a methodical approach and could not help but get irritated when his sisters did not follow his candy ball color pattern for the “outdoor lights” around the front door, but thankfully recovered and was so pleased with his gumdrop candy ring wreath.  One of the girls, our neatnik – who has issues with tags, sock seams and little strings that hang off of clothing – could not stand getting icing on her fingers, but rather, decided to harp on how the Gingerbread Baby (Jan Brett) was going to get into the house, when the door didn’t really work?  Number two, our artist -who has incredible fine motor skills and has already mastered writing her own name – was in heaven!  She loved all of the little details, and happily followed her brother’s orders.  Lastly, our third little one -who has yet to come down from the “candy-high” she discovered this past Halloween – managed to eat her way through the most of the decorations before her siblings could get all of them onto the house.  There were moments, when I thought the project would end in crying fits and disaster (one of the main walls broke, before we even got started, and I saw the despair in our 10-year old’s eyes).  In the end, they all agreed that they had made the “best gingerbread house ever!”

While ours wouldn’t grace the cover of Martha Stewart’s Living, I did come across an incredible HOK LEED Platinum Gingerbread House Tri-Plex (of all things! How perfect!)

photo via Inhabitat.com

The gingerbread house tri-plex, built in 2008 by team members at HOK (global architectural firm), was used to help promote The 2008 Habitat Gingerbread Build fundraiser.  With sustainability as the theme, main features included Hershey chocolate bar solar panels, black licorice rainwater barrels, two jelly bean green rooftop terraces and 3 gumdrop wind turbines.  The gingerbread house was auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.  To see additional photos and read more at Inhabitat.com click here.  I was also impressed to find several eco-gingerbread house designs at Inhabitat.com (see here), and got inspired to step-up our gingerbread project next year by taking the opportunity to teach the kids (or, at least our oldest) about some of the great architects, like Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry and Ieoh Ming Pei.

At the request of our 10-year old, the 3rd gingerbread house photo he wanted me to post is the 2010 Gingerbread White House we found at TMS Architects Blog

AP Photo/Getty Images

The dissertation of “threes” here would probably be as long as my college thesis, however, that said, here are a few White House “Threes” facts. 

  • The facade of the South Portico (as shown in the gingerbread photo above) shows 3 floors of the White House (rows of windows) however, there are actually 6 stories;   the Ground Floor, State Floor, First Floor and Second Floor, with an additional two-story basement. 
  • The South Portico, a combination of Palladian and neoclassical architecture, has a neoclassical bow in the center which projects 3 window bays, and clearly divides the facade into 3 sections.
  • The White House floor plan consists of the West Wing, the East Wing and the Executive Residence in the center.
  • As it exists today, the White House has 3 elevators.

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