Nancy Levinson | Essays

A Dream House for Architect Barbie

This past winter Architect Barbie made her industry debut at the toy fair in New York City. This spring she arrived on the professional scene at the AIA convention in New Orleans. And now, just in time for the midsummer heat, she's got a posh new beach house in Malibu.

Today the American Institute of Architects announced the winner of its Architect Barbie Dream House Competition. The design by Ting Li and Maja Paklar, both recent graduates of the Harvard GSD, was chosen by popular vote from a field of five houses which were earlier selected by a panel of judges

As is the case with so many competitions, the winner will not become a reality: Architect Barbie's Dream House is destined to remain a dream. But what a dream!  As the cutaway section shows, Barbie's got a multilevel cantilevered, green-roofed, bamboo-floored, local-sourced, solar-paneled palazzo with spaces for entertainment, exercise and meditation. She's got a library with an Eames classic lounge and an office that's described as "Steve Jobs approved." She's got a space to park her pink scooter and a landscaped garden for her pets, which include, per the competition brief, a giraffe. And — not to worry! — Barbie's got closet space. Self-identified in the brief as the "original fashionista," Barbie's been provided with a computer-operated "tower closet." Here's how the architects describe it: a "computer-controlled closet allows for the clothes to be displayed and visible from every angle of the house. It also makes dressing easy: she can select her outfit, push a button, and the outfit is delivered to her bedroom via the double-helix moving rack." 

In the winner's statement, Li and Paklar say: "We appreciate the versatility of our profession which allows us to express ourselves in a myriad of ways — from entirely built city environments to a Barbie Dream House. We hope to encourage more young female architects to flex their design muscles and just to have fun with architecture."

Posted in: Architecture, Arts + Culture

Comments [1]

Curious to know which firm pays that much money Barbie could afford to build this "dream house". Or is she "threejobbing" and "waitressing" to get by and pay the mortgage?

Jobs | June 15