The Gingerbread City
Somerset House 7 December – 5 January, 2020

AWW’s London studio participated in the Museum of Architecture’s fourth edition of Gingerbread City. This is an annual exhibition where architects, designers and engineers create an entire city made of gingerbread. The aim of the exhibition is to connect the public with architecture through an innovative display designed for the holiday season. The exhibition raises money to support the Museum of Architecture as a charity and helps to create programming, exhibitions and events. This year’s event will also raise funds towards the Museum of Architecture’s Grant Giving Fund which will be launched in Spring 2020 to support architectural entrepreneurship and public engagement.

Click here for more information on the exhibition

Our Concept

The plot was designated for a dense residential building, located on the “London island” part of the Gingerbread City masterplan. Our initial concept sketches are based on the London Thames dockside, drawing inspiration from Shad Thames and Butlers Wharf, incorporating industrial details such as the old dockside cranes. Drawing again from our inspiration, we officially renamed our plot Candy Crane Wharf.

Hand sketch of early concept for Gingerbread City

In order to sustainably meet London’s requirements to expand we’ve incorporated a modern air-rights development to the existing building. Sustainable elements were integrated early within the concept development stages. AWW wanted to create a self-sustaining community, incorporating an urban rooftop farm or garden for the residents of Candy Crane Wharf.

The London studio during a concept meeting


We created a physical model to assess the design and detail in scale. We chose materials for different industrial elements such as the balconies and floor ties. After getting the design and detailing finalised, we started batch gingerbread testing. Using different tools to create impressions for the brickwork detailing, comparing the different mixes and choosing the preferred method took longer than anticipated. It was then down to the final touches, such as the snow-people and signage.

Gingerbread panel before baking

Candy Crane Wharf completion

Despite the large quantity of building materials our office and team consumed, we are happy to report that Candy Crane Wharf was delivered on time and under budget. The new ginger and snow-people residents are happy in their new home.

Facade of gingerbread building for Gingerbread City 2019