HTX Ready to Jingle 2012
Colorful confections

Architects, designers, chefs & students compete in the 4th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off


AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography
AIA Houston Gingerbread Build-off, December 2012
Photo courtesy of © Cesar Carrillo Photography

"The story goes that one weekend, about four years ago, I had an instant urge to build a gingerbread house. I thought it would be more fun to do with friends and family around me," explained Ned Dodington, a designer at PDR and co-founder of the Caroline Collective.

That creative space hosted the first Gingerbread Build-Off, a small gathering of friends who divided into six teams to participate in what Dodington recalls as a "sort of fantastic near-disaster event."

Now in its fourth year and under the leadership of Architecture Center Houston, the nonprofit arm of the AIA Houston chapter, the Gingerbread Build-Off gets bigger and better each year. 

Last Saturday, the event drew thousands of onlookers to Hermann Square at City Hall for the competition. More than 20 competing teams — made up of local architecture firms, design professionals, students, chefs and enthusiasts — came together to compete for the prize.

The PDR team was inspired by the film Up for their colorful gingerbread cottage.

Beyond size restrictions and a stipulation that everything on the house be edible, there are basically no rules. Each team receives a basic kit of things one might need to build a gingerbread house, but they're also allowed — and encouraged — to run wild with creative ideas.

Nick and the Sugar Babies created a "Three Little Pigs" scenario.

"Some of the best ones, I think, have been the most sacrilegious and non-traditional," says Dodington, who described a pretzel stick rendition of the BP oil spill that was submitted by past contestants.

Gensler was inspired by Wreck-It Ralph for this confectionery creation.

A kid's table was introduced at the event in 2011 — a feature that Dodington says has since become the most popular.

Courtney Harper [Partners] Architects was the winner in the "Best Non-Traditionally Themed" this year with "Light Spikes."

English + Associates received first runner up with "Cinderella's Castle."

Seeberger Architecture took second runner up with "Willy Wonka’s Factory."

Best Traditionally Themed went to American Construction Investigations team, who built the witch's house from the popular fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.

Just in time for the supposed Doomsday, The Neurons team won the Best Architectural Icon category with "Mayan Temple."

The Grand Prix de Show went to the Kirksey Architecture/Shade Heights team, who created a sweet replica of Antonio Gaudi's "Pavello de Consergeria" — complete with the dragon fountain that guards the stairwell — which as stands at the entrance to Park Güell in Barcelona.