The Next Green Building Wave: Edible Edifices

To build a truly green building, designers must be sure that every aspect of the structure is energy-efficient, nonpolluting and made from sustainable materials. But how may architects have gone the next step and made their creations edible? After all, what could be greener than a house with an extremely small carbon footprint that can serve as both shelter and food supply?

In honor of the holiday season, the folks at Architizer have finally answered these heretofore unasked questions with their first-ever Gingerbread Competition. The site invited their design-savvy readers to submit photos of their most inventive creations using either gingerbread or whatever edible materials they desired. The participants did not disappoint, submitting mouth-watering versions of some of the world’s iconic buildings, as well as a few totally original and tasty-looking creations that would make tiny home advocates proud.

“White Christmas in Brasilia,” by Jacob Sjoblom and Susanne Berggren. Image via Architizer.

“White Christmas in Brasilia,” by Jacob Sjoblom and Susanne Berggren. Image via Architizer.

The winner was “Team Jacussi” (a.k.a. Jacob Sjoblom and Susanne Berggren) with their entry, “White Christmas in Brasilia.” In a loving homage to architect Oscar Niemeyer—the designer of the “brutalist” buildings in Brazil’s capital city, who had passed away on Dec. 5 at the age of 104—the submitted building was modeled on the monumental National Congress of Brazil. The fact that it doubles as a candy dish helped sway the judges, no doubt.

“We hope that one day we’ll be able to spend our holiday in Brasilia to admire his work,” Team Jacussi added. Until then, they’ll have to settle for Architizer’s grand prize of an iPad Mini.

“The Gingerbread Glass House,” by Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes. Image via Architizer.

“The Gingerbread Glass House,” by Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes. Image via Architizer.

Runners-up included versions of Philip Johnson’s “glass house” in New Canaan, Conn., with semi-transparent walls made of sugar, and New Mexico’s 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo, made from “homemade gluten-free gingerbread, Hershey’s chocolate bars, pretzels, butter cream frosting and powdered sugar.”

“Gingerbread Taos Pueblo,” by J. Matthew Thomas and Richard Spera. Image via Architizer.

“Gingerbread Taos Pueblo,” by J. Matthew Thomas and Richard Spera. Image via Architizer.

Visit the Architizer blog for an expanded list of the other edible entries that are both satisfying and delicious—you can even eat the dishes.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.