Events

Innovative Gingerbread Designs Celebrate “Boston Firsts” at BSA Space

You can see an edible Symphony Hall, the Red Line crossing the Charles, and more.

Boston Sweet Symphony by Acentech / Photo courtesy of BSA Space

Bricks made of chewing gum, pillars of peppermint sticks, window frames of black licorice, and gummy bear citizens.

This isn’t a scene from Willy Wonka or an image from Candy Land—it’s the Boston Society of Architects’ sixth annual gingerbread house design competition. All throughout this month, you can visit BSA Space to view 14 edible creations designed by architecture and landscape architecture firms from the Greater Boston area. Visits are free, but with a donation you can vote for your favorite design.

While last year‘s designs were focused on Boston homes and houses, this year’s theme is “Innovations and Firsts,” celebrating the 150 years of BSA professionals who have collaborated to build Boston as a creative and innovative city. Designers have constructed edible recreations of iconic Boston innovations and inventions, such as the subway system and Fluff, as seen in a candy MBTA train crossing the Charles and a sugary sweet jar of marshmallow Fluff. There’s even a poor gingerbread man undergoing surgery, representing Boston’s many medical breakthroughs.

The diversity of entries is supported by a lack of restrictions. Participants can build whatever they want as long as it fits on an 18-by-18 inch base and is made of entirely edible materials. Whatever the design, it needs to be constructed with gingerbread, Rice Krispies, fondant, candy, or some other sweet concoction. This requires both creativity and patience: Acentech, a participating architectural acoustics consulting firm, sliced more than 50 pieces of Big Red Gum into more than 250 “bricks” to make their gingerbread structure resemble Symphony Hall’s red brick walls.

Voting officially closes at midnight on December 31, but a tally on December 18 will determine which design is recognized at the public reception. The evening will include appearances by guest judges Brendan Ciecko, founder of Cuseum, Louise Kennedy, Senior Arts Producer at WBUR, and Sarah Kennedy, Service Manager at No.9 Park. Each judge will award their personal favorite entry, while the public decides who earns the Golden Spatula—the entry with highest total of donations—and the Golden Whisk—the entry with highest number of bids. In January, after voting closes, the BSA will announce which design earned the Public Choice Award.

Do these incredible designs have you feeling inspired? ‘Tis the season, so take some tips from the professionals to build your own amazing gingerbread house.

Free, December 11-31, open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Suite 200,
Boston, architects.org.

Boston’s Sweet Medical Advances by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge / Photo courtesy of BSA Space

First of Her Science, the Unburnt, Mother of Churches by Finegold Alexander Architects / Photo courtesy of BSA Space

Ahead of the Charles, Innovation Through Time by Bergmeyer / Photo courtesy of BSA Space

What the Fluff? by designLAB Architects / Photo courtesy of BSA Space