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of

Mesmerising gingerbread city for London

Georgina Johnston
17 Dec 2019

Christmas comes to London's Somerset House with 100 architects involved in building the Museum of Architecture’s city within a city

More than 100 of the UK’s leading architects and designers have created 2019's The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City. Trading concrete and wood for dough and sweets they have designed and built a futuristic mini-city, which explores the theme of transport and how we might move around our cities in years to come.

The Gingerbread City is an annual exhibition now in its fourth year. Organised by the Museum of Architecture, its aim is to connect the public with architecture in an exciting way, and spark important conversations around cities and how we live in them. Visitors can peek inside sectional buildings, understand how city planners interact with natural landscapes and be inspired by the creativity and dexterity of some of the UK's top architects and designers.  

Hosted by London’s Somerset House, the city is constructed entirely from gingerbread and confectionery and includes high-rise buildings, office blocks and apartments, a university, stadium, tram station, urban farm, park and ferry terminal, five bridges, cycle ways and pedestrian paths. There are reinterpretations of well-known landmarks like ‘Battersea Sugar Power Station’, ‘Gingerbread Modern’, ‘Sugarset House’, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus as well as a moving train. 

Based on a master plan developed by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, the Gingerbread City champions sustainable design ideas and innovation on a mini scale. 

It’s an absolute pleasure to bring The Gingerbread City to life again this year. We have more than 100 top UK architects and designers taking part, showcasing innovative and sustainable design ideas, with the aim of getting people thinking about their built environment and how we want to live in our cities. The Gingerbread City exhibition supports our year-round work as an architectural charity, and this year, sees us able to set up a grant-giving fund so we can support more public-facing and entrepreneurial projects.

M. Woolford, founder and director of the Museum of Architecture.

The Gingerbread City is a really important project for Tibbalds because of the way it makes everyone who visits think about cities and what they mean. It prompts questions about the many things that designers and placemakers have to deal with in creating interesting places that work for those that use them. This year the focus on transport and the opportunities that active travel and good connections can have on wellbeing and health when carefully planned into our places is something we are particularly passionate about. Fast, fun, edible urbanism is a great way into some important discussions about the value of place. 

H. Satchwell, director Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design. 

Additionally, the Museum of Architecture has announced the launch of a new grant-giving fund, which will support projects that better engage the public with architecture and help architects to be more entrepreneurial.   

Following the success of the Gingerbread City exhibitions, the Museum of Architecture wishes to support new projects which help to create better places and communities, and enable the public to better engage with architecture. The Gingerbread City now attracts participation from more than 100 leading architects and designers and more than 40,000 public visitors to its annual exhibition.

Launching in Spring 2020, the Museum of Architecture Grant Giving Fund’s first recipient will be ProxyAddress created by architect Chris Hildrey. Chris Hildrey has also joined the Museum of Architecture’s board of trustees to help develop the charity’s interest in promoting architectural entrepreneurship.

As part of the fourth Gingerbread City exhibition, I am very excited to be able to launch the MoA Grant-Giving Fund, and start giving money towards the many exciting initiatives and projects taking shape across the industry. As an architectural charity we were set up to find new ways of engaging the public with architecture and supporting architects to be more entrepreneurial and this fund enables us to do just that.

M. Woolford, founder and director of the Museum of Architecture.

It's incredibly exciting to be part of the first Museum of Architecture Grant Giving Fund. This funding is a testament to the work being done by MoA to enable a more entrepreneurial approach to improving our cities.

C. Hildrey, director of Hildrey Studio and founder of ProxyAddress.

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