WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off

NYC architects and designers unite to build iconic structures from dessert items

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We’re in the midst of Archtober—NYC’s sixth annual month-long celebration of architecture and design, complete with innovative programming and activities. To honor the month in a clever, tasty way, hospitality architectural firm WATG and their design division Wimberly Interiors brought a rather uncommon event to town: The Great Architectural Bake-Off. Within the competition, seven architecture and design firms reconstructed iconic buildings… from dessert items. Cool Hunting was on hand, acting as one of the four judges, in association with Benjamin Prosky, the Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects New York; Michael Laiskonis, the Creative Director of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education; and Stacy Shoemaker, Editor-in-Chief of Hospitality Design. Not only was it one of the more creative happenings in NYC of late, it challenged teams traditionally working within one medium to step outside of their comfort zone and work with the “unforgiving” (according to Laiskonis) but delectable materials.

All four judges had to grade the projects based on realistic representation, creative use of materials, degree of difficulty, and taste. After much deliberation we awarded Studios Architecture as the champion. Their edible iteration of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan was ambitious, thoughtful, nuanced, relevant and it tasted best of all the entries. We sent an honorable mention to Grade New York for their very detail-oriented imagining of The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT. We spent two hours watching Grade build the piece, scoring bricks to scale on chocolate and raising walls from glass-like sugar. Unsurprisingly, all firms presented something engaging—and everything from blue Jell-O seas to cheesecake crème brûlée fountains demonstrated the unprecedented feats of imagination from the likes of Jeffrey Beers International, MADE, Bespoke and Woods Bagot. We can’t wait till the next one.

You can explore more Archtober programming online.

Images courtesy of Griffin Lipson/BFA.com