August 4th 2012

Barbie Dream House Competition winners announced

In May, The American Institute of Architects launched a competition with girls in mind.

Also this year, Barbie is unveiling the I Can Be … Architect, encouraging girls to pursue a career in architecture.

This resulted in the Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition.

And winners have been chosen.

The American Institute of Architects partnered with Mattel to announce the competition. Basically, it was an opportunity for architects to design a home with specific Barbie guidelines, which include an office, open living and dining areas and plenty of room for her five pets, including her giraffe.

There weren’t too many other rules; any AIA member could compete.

Two New York architecture students, Ting Li and Maja Paklar, are the winners of the dream home.

Their pink and frilly (but chic) design trumped over 8,000 other entries.

The winning design includes many environmental features and sits over a bluff on the Malibu coast. Four hundred fifty square metres in size, the house’s four levels are connected by a central core of spiraling staircases, which rise around a hollow centre that doubles as Barbie’s tower wardrobe.

Even better, the wardrobe is computer controls so clothes are delivered to her bedroom with the push a button.

Other features include nearly 150 square meters of entertaining space, a large chef’s open kitchen and an office, described as “Steven Jobs-approved”.

The top two floors include her bedroom, “inspiration space”, and, on the roof, a garden.

Li and Paklar, gradutes of Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s March program, worked hard and it paid off. “We appreciate the versatility of our profession which allows us to express ourselves in myriad 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,” they explained.

A $1,000 donation will be made in their names to a charter high school in Philadelphia that focuses on design and architecture.

The Dream House will become the home to Architect Barbie. Mattel and Barbie designers ensured that her needs were met, consulting with two members of the AIA: Despina Stratigakos, Professor of Architectural History at the University at Buffalo and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, Associate Director of the Capital Planning Group at the University at Buffalo and the 2011 President Elect for AIA New York State.

”For more than a century, women have chosen to become architects to express and give form to new ways of living. Yet some still consider architecture an unusual profession for a woman. Architect Barbie salutes the many generations of women architects and encourages young girls to imagine a better world they can design and build,” Stratigakos explained in a statement.

Mattel has also dubbed Architect Barbie the brand’s ‘career of the year,’ and will be available August 2011.

Read more about the winners here and see more of the winning design: AIA.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.