Traditional alpine chalets, woodland cottages, and Victorian mansions made of gingerbread are impressive, to say the least. I know from experience that they are not easy to make. Yet some folks go the extra mile to make their gingerbread constructions stand out from the crowd by building them bigger, adding clever details, or redesigning them altogether. Some of these aren't even houses!
1. Robotzilla Gingerbread House
Instructables member boston09 entered their gingerbread competition last year with a gingerbread cottage featuring icing icicles and gumdrop shrubbery, plus one extra detail to make it stand out -the house is about to be attacked by a giant gingerbread robot!
2. Modern Architecture
Last year, the Creative Room in Vancouver invited architectural firms to submit gingerbread houses for a competition. Eleven houses were entered, and the finished buildings were auctioned off for charity. The modern design pictured is an entry from Nick Milkovich Architects, Inc. called the Sugar Shack.
3. NYC Landmarks
In 2008 Benita Larsson made gingerbread recreations of New York City landmarks -the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building! The process of putting these together is documented in pictures.
4. Winchester Mystery Gingerbread House
Pam Sheridan won a gingerbread house contest in 1990 with this gingerbread replica of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The confection is still on display there twenty years later. Image by Flickr user Sarah Nuehring.
5. Gingerbread Fenway Park
This recreation of Fenway Park made of gingerbread won top honors at the 2008 Boston Christmas Festival Gingerbread House Competition. The entry from Legal Sea Foods took four pastry chefs (David Topian, Angela Ernst, Brian Harper, and Zailda Smith) two weeks to construct. Get a closer look here. Surprisingly, it wasn't the first Fenway Park to be made of gingerbread that year.
6. Frank Lloyd Wright's Gingerbread House
7. Sustainable Green Gingerbread Houses
The Terry* Project hosted a competition in 2007 called Bake for a Change that challenged bakers and designers to come up with gingerbread houses that would be environmentally-friendly if they were full-size homes. This entry from AdinaBob has its green features explained right on the picture. See all the entries in this post.
8. Dine-in Gingerbread House
When the prize is publicity, bigger is always better. Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario has a life size gingerbread house built every year! Every inch is edible, and families can make reservations to eat inside -but then you have to order off the menu instead of munching on the walls. Reservation fees go to charity. The gingerbread dining room will only be up until January 9th.
9. Bigger than Life-size
The Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Connecticut builds a giant gingerbread house every year. This year Executive Pastry Chef Lynn Mansel and her team are constructing a 28-foot tall marvel to outdo any they have made before. Their gingerbread house pictured here is from 2005.
10. Abandoned Building Site
Andrew Salomone created this gingerbread scene last year to draw attention to the many building projects in Ireland that were abandoned due to the global recession. It was displayed at an art show titled everything is as it seems to be in Cork City.
11. The White House
An annual gingerbread replica of the White House is a Washington tradition. The White House pastry chef works on the plans for months ahead of time to get the details right -and yes, the details change from year to year even if the building design itself doesn't. In 2009, Michelle Obama's vegetable garden was front and left-of-center in the finished display, which can be seen in the State Dining Room during the holiday season.
12. Gingerbread Trailer
This photograph, usually labeled "redneck gingerbread house", has been around so long (at least eight years) that no one knows who the creator is. The same is true for a somewhat more recent version which has modern details like a satellite dish.
13. Neiman Marcus
You can buy your own giant gingerbread house from (who else but) Neiman Marcus. It only costs 15,000 -although it doesn't specify what currency that is. If you have to ask, you obviously cannot afford it.
If you think you might try your hand at making a gingerbread house from scratch, you may want to read some tips and tricks for the first-time gingerbread house maker. If it falls apart, you can always eat the rubble!