Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Dream House

 Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition
     This summer, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) held a design competition for Architect Barbie's "Dream House." Architect Barbie's new home is a one-of-a kind 4 story Dream House. This modern environmentally sustainable and open floor plan is sure to be a favorite amongst all the little ladies playing with it.

AIA Architect Barbie Dream House Competition
The winning design by Ting Li and Maja Paklar, is a significant transformation from Barbie's old dream house.
      The house has many features: One the first floor there is an open kitchen, living, and  dining area and a space for entertaining guest. The second floor features an office, library, meeting room, and terrace. The third floor is Barbie's bedroom and massive amazing dressing closet  and the  forth floor is her meditation space and exercise room. The roof has a garden and play area for her pets. The roof has a green house and a landscaped garden for her pets. The design elements incorporated in this dream house that help contribute to a sustainable environment are 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.
     This Barbie dream house is very modern and nothing like the traditional "American Dream" house we are accustomed to seeing her live in. Here is an example of the Barbie dream townhouse from 2010. It is a 3-story pink traditional house with traditional furniture. It has some great features such as a full kitchen, elevator, and fire place.

Barbie Doll House
Barbie's Dream Townhouse 2010

     Each of these designs are completely different and my personal design aesthetic is a happy combination of the two. I like the sustainable aspects of the first design and the floor plan, but I would like to see some traditional elements incorporated. Also, what about downsizing and designing a dream house that isn't so big? It is a little too modern for my taste, but I think the concept of the modern house will sell and more of Barbie's homes to come will transform to a more modern design aesthetic.
     If I had to pick one to buy as a gift for a young girl I would buy the modern house because it is a reflection of the current design aesthetic that is becoming more and more popular amongst the nation.  Also once again, I really like the message behind the sustainable elements implemented as well. It would be interesting though to work on the traditional house as a designer and add more of a modern influence and incorporate some sustainable principles. One thing that I would like to see as an added feature in the traditional townhouse is a rainwater tank.

Rain Water Tank
     A rainwater tank is a great approach for water conservation and a great step in toward being more sustainable. Rainwater tanks can be stored above or below ground and the stored water can be used for gardening, flushing toilets, washing cars, and clothes, even for drinking water, if properly treated. 
     Even though her new modern house has solar panels, operable shading devices and energy saving bathroom and light fixtures I believe it is is important to make sure that the children playing with the Barbie dream house understand the significance of these features and what they mean. It is a wonderful idea to try to instill principles and sustainable practices in the minds and hearts of those who will be influential in our future ecological success, however I think the message is lost if they don't truly understand the meaning.

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