WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off is an annual highlight of the London Festival of Architecture. Now in its fourth year, the hotly anticipated battle took place at Guildhall Yard, in the heart of the City of London.
Aspiring bakers, from London’s leading architecture and design firms, swapped pens for rolling-pins and battled it out to create the best gourmet versions of iconic buildings and landmarks. For the first time ever, some of the UK’s most renowned architecture universities completed in a student-only competition, allowing future design talent to flex their creative and culinary skills.
“Designing buildings may be their day job, but it seems, for architects, baking is a piece of cake too.” Evening Standard
This culinary quest was being judged by a world-class panel of industry experts including Tom Hetherington, Architect, and Great British Bake-Off competitor; Jane Duncan, 75th RIBA president; Bethan Ryder, Digital Editor at Wallpaper*; Peter Murray, Founder of the London Festival of Architecture; Carolyn Dwyer, Director of the Built Environment for the City of London Corporation and Tamsie Thomson, Director of the London Festival of Architecture.
Each team was encouraged to explore the London Festival of Architecture’s theme of ‘Identity’ and experiment with innovative ideas and constructions to produce a robust, imaginative and delicious creation. Armed with wooden spoons, dry ice, and a variety of sweet treats, teams enthusiastically tackled the task.
Being architects the storyboard narrative for their creations indicated that they took the job of winning quite seriously. Baking was done off-site, a bit like flat pack homes, which meant the teams were carefully assembling their “buildings” from one they made earlier using buckets of icing instead of mortar. This really was a showstopper challenge as guests and the curious who wandered into the event, passed their own judgement as they watched buildings under construction.
Requisite British bunting adorned Guildhall Yard, whilst a string trio delighted the crowds with instrumental versions of contemporary classics, such as Mr. Brightside, providing the perfect soundtrack to keep the grey clouds at bay.
Make Architect’s gingerbread recreation of Tower Bridge, featured a working drawbridge, and a perfectly precise jelly river, showing that there’s nothing too ambitious for an architect.
WATG and Wimberly Interiors created a red velvet and match powder Kuggen Building.
Fitting in perfectly with the theme of identity, Wilkinson Eyre recreated the Gasholders in London.
A rice krispie Park Güell Tower emerged at the hands of Squire + Partners.
Benoy was crowned the grand winner with the ‘Barbicake’, an entirely edible version of the Barbican, made from a scrumptious mix of chocolate fudge, wafer, blueberry swirl, ginger, and Nutella.
Stand-out entries included a delicious edible edition of the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects, winning tastiest bake, and the Imperial War Museum by Stride Treglown which received an honourable mention for its ingenious use of wartime flavours.
Central Saint Martins whipped up an immaculate version of The Secession Building in Vienna while the University of Greenwich baked the Old Royal Navy College. It was London Metropolitan University who narrowly edged it to be named champions with their semi-demolished version of Robin Hood Gardens, which expertly combined layers of phenomenal sponges of ginger, pistachio, and classic Victoria.
Architecture and cake make an undeniably sweet combination and provide the perfect recipe for a British summer afternoon. Now a global event, polish your rolling pins and stay tuned for WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off taking place in New York and Singapore in Autumn.