Sweet ideas in a city with more carbs than cars

Sunday Times - - News Playtime -

● Ar­chi­tects swapped steel and con­crete for sugar and spice to cre­ate an ed­i­ble gin­ger­bread city of the fu­ture at Lon­don’s V&A Mu­seum, to show that ur­ban plan­ning can be fun, and tasty.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, put to­gether by Lon­don’s Mu­seum of Ar­chi­tec­ture, opened yes­ter­day and runs until Jan­uary 8. It show­cases build­ings by ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers who were asked to cre­ate a sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive city of the fu­ture.

The fully lit con­struc­tion in­cludes houses, of­fice blocks, land­marks and bridges, as well as a cin­ema, li­brary, city farm, sports sta­dium and botan­i­cal gar­dens.

“We de­sign and we work a lot in mod­el­mak­ing, and at this scale as well,” said Robert Nolan of ar­chi­tec­ture firm Apt.

“If you can see your­self hav­ing fun with just gin­ger­bread and then trans­plant that to some­thing a bit more re­al­is­tic, ac­tu­ally it’s fun.”

More than 60 struc­tures have been baked. The city fea­tures a cable car made of liquorice and cy­cle lanes and pedes­trian routes made en­tirely of sugar, while Hol­land Har­vey Ar­chi­tects de­signed a mod­ern home­less shel­ter.

“We had to be very care­ful when mak­ing it that sud­denly you might be half­way through mak­ing some­thing and then be like ‘Oh, wait, where did that piece go? Oh, we’ve ac­tu­ally gone and eaten it,’” Nolan said.

The Evening Stan­dard re­ported that high­lights of the ex­hi­bi­tion in­clude the Su­garLoop, a trans­port sys­tem with a light rail, cable car and cy­cle path­ways; the Hot Cross Pub with a mi­cro­brew­ery; and the Cur­d­zon Cin­ema, which uses hy­dro­pon­ics to power the screen.

The home­less shel­ter with com­mu­nity cafe, lo­cal shop and work space fo­cuses at­ten­tion on the 7,500 peo­ple sleep­ing rough on Lon­don’s streets ev­ery year. — Reuters

Pic­ture: Reuters/Peter Ni­cholls

A mem­ber of staff at the V&A Mu­seum in Lon­don ad­mires the model city of the fu­ture made out of gin­ger­bread.

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