Mosaic CSE x Squire & Partners: The Gingerbread City Competition

In a collaboration with Squire & Partners, Mosaic CSE have been working away on a delicious secret for this year’s Gingerbread City competition, organised by the Museum of Architecture.

On 1 December, the world had its first glimpse of our ‘Gin-Spiring Spaces’ creation at the exhibition at 6-7 Motcomb Street in Belgravia before opening to the public on 3 December.

Located on plot Tropical SL1 – Jammy Jubilee, we built ‘Gin-Spiring Spaces’ as a landmark for the tropical island community, sitting at the top of the hill as a signal of hope and celebration.

Completed Gingerbread City model

The design brief

The tropics were our natural climate zone choice for building with sustainable local materials because rainforests such as the Amazon offer an abundance of food and supplies that are widely used around the world, including but not limited to, cacao plants, coconut oil, coffee beans, muscovado sugar, avocados, bananas, vanilla seed pods, and not forgetting spices such as cinnamon, pepper and of course, GINGER!

It was also imperative for us to consider future-proof and sustainable construction methods within this warm and wet tropical climate as its vast diversity is under increasing pressure due to population growth, rising sea levels and more frequent extreme storms.

Our structure combines the opportunity to host concerts, sport tournaments, festivals and other social celebrations, in addition to supporting the growth of local vegetation. Considering the varying extreme climates of the tropics, it was equally important for there to be ample provision of shelter to protect the inhabitants from severe environmental events such as storms, tsunamis and rising sea levels.

Initial concept design meeting with Squire & Partners

A self-sufficient community space

It was important that ‘Gin-Spiring Spaces’ was self-sufficient. The large canopy does not only act as a shading device, but also a rain and dew collector, ensuring the supply of clean drinking water once naturally filtered in the lakes. During the wet season, which is amply named for its monsoon rainfall patterns, the collected water will drive a water wheel, generating electricity to be stored in batteries in the pyramids, for the numerous events hosted around the year.

The large platform suspended from the pyramids can be raised and lowered, providing shelter from tropical storms as well as being able to respond to future rising sea levels. The space below is then given back to nature, creating the dark, hot and damp environment of a rainforest as a refuge for flora and fauna displaced by deforestation.

Initial concept sketch drawings of the Gingerbread City

This competition has been a fun working collaboration with Squire & Partners, allowing us to get stuck into the challenge of a unique project, marrying innovation and craft with traditional technique and working with other disciplines across all sectors.

To learn more about the Gingerbread City, click here.

You can view more BTS footage on our Instagram, here.