Architects compete to build gingerbread dreamhouses

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DRAPER -- For a group of architects in Draper, building a gingerbread house this year was no simple project.

A gingerbread house building competition at the Draper Harmon's grocery store pushed architects to take the holiday craft to the next level, which the architects welcomed.

"That's the kind of stuff we do daily, so this is just a fun version of it," said Valerie Nagasawa of GSBS Architects.

At first glance, the gingerbread house competition looked similar to what one may see at a family get-together of gingerbread house building. There was the graham crackers, marshmallows and licorice. But beside the frosting and the candies, were more exact tools than might be found in the kitchen: blueprints, straight edge knives for cutting out candy glass and rulers.

"It's not very often we get to build something we design," said Scott Bingham of Michael Lee Design.

Some of the entries included precise towers, chimneys, in addition to the basic four walls. Still, they say, they can't compare to the real thing.

"The reality is, at this scale or at full scale, it's hard to be perfect. You gotta hand it to the contractors that do this every day and really put something together," said Robert Pinon of MHTN Architects.

One occupational error these architects can't avoid is the nature of the materials they use.

"The gingerbread kind of warped, and so it made it a problem trying to glue it all together," Bingham said.

Still, they strive for perfection. The smallest little thing that's just not right is a big deal.

"Architecture does that to you. So, you sort of become very particular and precise," said Nagasawa.

When nobody lives in what they design, though, they can put away some of their concerns about structural soundness and use a few tricks of the trade.

"You put enough candy on anything and it'll look good," Bingham said.


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