Over the past few weeks Spacehub began a journey into the realm of gingerbread. Tasked with creating a ‘Flying Saucer Treetop zip wire Adventure’ the team began dreaming how to design, bake and construct a landscape made from all things edible. As always we began by sketching down our fantasy creation. Cross pollinating our ideas we realised they were similar in nature, with fungi, mosses, stepping stones all featuring. Colour and material palettes were chosen as well as construction drawings drafted, no UGF necessary this time though. It was time to build.
We started prototyping our ideas, some turning out as anticipated and others…….less so. The triangular trees ended up providing not only a structurally sound base for the walkway but a focal point for the lighting which had to be incorporated into the design. Two of the largest trees were used as the location for these lightbulbs. To make things even more challenging we contoured our model (being landscape architects and all) allowing for a river to meander through our design.
Next came the tricky part, deciding which sweets to*cough eat cough* – I mean decorate and plant across our model. Reed beds made from rainbow drops, mushrooms and toadstools formed from fondant, liquorice walkway supports, a variety of stepping stones, rocks as well as a forest floor made from icing and cake decorations proliferated throughout the studio. What was the story of the forest? The model needed to be animated and inhabited by jelly babies fishing, star gazing campers, campfire marshmallows, a gingerbread river swing and tree top walkway photographers. As our creations came to life, we needed to begin to cover our model and so a production line was quickly assembled starting the strenuous task of placing each individual plant, rock and mushroom.
After a few late nights the day had finally arrived, we were to transport our design across London. How were we to do that? Well a black cab of course. “Never seen something like this before” said the driver. The model balanced perilously in the back of the cab with three team members helping to support the weight of the model. Every speed bump, pothole and traffic light was felt that day and yet the model arrived safe and sound. Transporting the model to its final resting place a sense of relief flooded across all our faces. Setting the model down on the table all that was left to do was to connect the lights. Cautiously we flicked the switch. We had done it. A warm glow began to radiate from our tree top walkway as the model came to life.
The theme this year was to understand how urban environments can contribute to rewilding. As landscape architects we recognise that our built environment, can become host to nature and work in tandem with the natural environment to form a healthy, resilient and diverse city.
The Gingerbread city is an annual initiative joining architects, engineers, urbanists and landscape architects’ creative forces to produce a masterplan of an edible city housed in the Museum of Architecture. The city can be visited this festive season from December 4th to January 9th 2022, 6-7 Motcomb street, Belgravia, London.