Gingerbread houses are a fun seasonal staple for pretty much everyone—except architects, who must suffer through all sorts of under-engineered amateur constructions with phony good cheer. But now DC’s building professionals finally have their own outlet: Gingertown DC.
Created by the architecture firm David M. Schwarz, Gingertown is an annual competition for local architecture, real estate, and engineering groups. Contestants have three hours to craft a completely edible structure based on their expertise. This year’s theme is Venice, which gives competitors the opportunity to address climate change and create sinking buildings amid blue-jellybean rivers.
The engineering firm Walter P. Moore has participated in the competition for the last eight years; senior associate Tom Yost says preparations begin about a month before the event and include foamcore models and scale calculations. Building with Necco wafers and other goodies is fun but also a sweet challenge. “As structural engineers, a lot of the time we’re just dealing with concrete and steel,” Yost says. “This is a good chance for us to flex our architectural muscle.”
The actual competition is open only to contestants, but finished creations will be on public display at 1500 K Street the following week. Sorry, no tasting.
Gingertown DC will be held on December 3 at 5:30PM.
A version of this article appears in the December 2019 issue of Washingtonian.