Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Barbie now has an architect designed dream house

If you are frequent readers of this blog, you probably remember back in May when the AIA Barbie® Dream House™ Design Competition challenged AIA members to design a dream house for this worldwide but oh so American icon. Well, the results came out this month: from only 30 submissions, a panel of jurors selected five finalists with input from Mattel’s own team of Barbie® experts. They then invited the public to choose their favorite design. Almost 9,000 people, children, but also those still feeling like children at heart, voted. The result: Barbie’s dream house is the quintessential Malibu beach house; it is modern, functional, spacious, fun and most of all sustainable. The design submitted by Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA, received the most public votes, out of the 8,470 votes registered.

The press release from Mattel tells us how Architect Barbie designed her house:

Naturally the newly minted Architect Barbie took on the task of designing her own dream house. She is creative, fashionable, busy and powerful. She has gone through years of training to become a leading figure in her field. She is LEED AP and a member of the AIA. Although she is an internationally renowned globe trotter, when not travelling she loves to look smart, entertain her potential clients, and come up with innovative ideas in her high-tech, low energy consumption home.

The concept of this house reflects exactly who Barbie is in her new profession. She has pledged to build an environmentally sustainable home using the principals set forth by USGBC as well as to stay true to all the needs of a classic California girl! The house is situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The entrance faces north-west and the main body of the building has a panoramic view of the ocean. Distinct building programs are specific to each floor, connected by a center core of spiral stairs. 

The stairs rise around a hollow tube , which becomes Barbie’s tower closet. Since Barbie is the original fashionista, she inevitabily accumulated a large volume of enviable designer labels. This 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.

The house features 1,500 sq.f. of entertaining space and chef’s open kitchen on the first floor. A Steven Jobs approved office / library / meeting space as well as 500 sq.f. of terrace on the second floor. The third and fourth floors are Barbie’s private enclave, her bedroom and her inspiration room respectively. The roof has a green house and a landscaped garden for her domestic pets.

The design elements include solar panels, landscaped rooftop and irrigation system, operable shading devices, bamboo flooring, low flow toilet and sink fixtures, and locally sourced and manufactured materials and furnishings.

A joint statement from Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar stated, “We are very honored to have been chosen by AIA and Mattel as a finalist and as the public favourite - Barbie was both of ours’ favorite doll growing up in China and Croatia. 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.”

“The intent of the partnership with Mattel to promote the launch of Architect Barbie was to engage and inspire young girls to experience the world of architecture and the range of possibilities that design thinking offers,” said AIA President, Clark Manus, FAIA. “We are thrilled that this initiative was so well received by the public and congratulations to the finalists and especially the winners of the design competition, Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar. Their submissions did an excellent job of showcasing the innovative approaches that architects reflect in the design of projects of all types.”

The bad news is that the architects’ submissions including the winning design, will not be produced by Mattel. The good news is that the creators of the winning design will have a $1000 donation made in their name to CHAD, a charter high school in Philadelphia focused on architecture and design. Bit AIA does not write if they or Mattel are making the donation.

Most text and info through The American Institute of Architects

BARBIE and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by Mattel, Inc. ©2011 Mattel, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Photos courtesy of Mattel, Inc.

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