Back in May, I helped to announce an American Institute of Architects-orchestrated home design competition involving fun-loving, plastic-limbed dilettante Barbara Millicent Roberts, AKA Barbie, who this year decided to give architecture a spin (I guess her forays into life guarding and dentistry didn’t work out as planned).
After enlisting the help of her fellow architects to design green-minded, pink-hued digs with enough room to accommodate her pet giraffe, it appears that Architect Barbie, after months of subletting and crashing on Skipper’s couch, finally has a new home as the winner in the Architect Barbie Dream Home Design Competition was announced earlier today. And despite the absence of a noticeable giraffe habitat, the "high-tech, low energy consumption" home is a doozey.
Designed by the team of Ting Li and Maja Paklar, the 4,881-square-foot Malibu abode “reflects exactly who Barbie is in her new profession” and includes numerous eco-friendly elements like solar panels, zero-VOC paints, EnergyStar appliances, low-flow fixtures, bamboo flooring, a landscaped rooftop and irrigation system, operable shading devices, and locally sourced/manufactured materials and furnishings.
The design, which was named a top-five finalist from a pool of 30 submissions by a panel of judges and then singled out as a winner by the voting public, includes ample outdoor space — 2,003 square feet to be exact — including a terraced, landscaped garden for Barbies’s “domestic pets,” and a rooftop green house. And, as requested by Barbie herself, there’s plenty of entertaining space, a computer-controlled-closet, a tricked-out open chef’s kitchen, and a generous, “Steven Jobs-approved” office/library/meeting space for Ms. B to carry out all 125 of her careers. What’s missing is the three-car garage originally called for in Barbie's design guidelines. Now, there’s just a small parking slip for her pink Vespa.
Explain Li and Paklar, both graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s MArch progam, in a joint statement:
We are very honored to have been chosen by AIA and Mattel as a finalist and as the public favorite — 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.
Congrats, ladies. Aside from the giraffe roaming around out front, potential zoning issues, and the crazy tower closet, this sounds like a design that could almost be pulled off in real life. And on that note, Mattel will not produce Li and Paklar’s vision but will instead make a $1,000 donation in their names to the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia.
View Li and Paklar’s winning submission here.