Dream home all dolled up for Barbie

The winning entry in a competition to design a dream house for Barbie features all the home elements necessary for 'classic California girl.'
Ting Li and Maja Paklar's winning design.
Ting Li and Maja Paklar's winning design.

More than a few grown-ups are going to covet Barbie's new house.

Barbie's dream house is the product of a design competition staged by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Mattel, Barbie's manufacturer. More than 30 architects participated, using their imagination to design a house for the world's most popular doll.

The winning design by Ting Li and Maja Paklar is touted as "the quintessential Malibu beach house".

The four-storey cantilevered design is perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, according to Barbie lore. There is plenty of room for entertaining and floor-to-ceiling windows to highlight Barbie's active lifestyle and role as the "classic California girl".

It could be argued that many of the elements are frivolous. Does Barbie really need a meditation space?

But other aspects would certainly peak the interest of many house hunters. There is a broad terrace, open kitchen and a greenhouse and landscaped garden on the roof. Each floor is connected by a spiral staircase built around a hollow tube that serves as Barbie's computerised tower closet, which is the centrepiece of the house in every way.

The closet allows clothes to be displayed and visible from "every angle of the house", the AIA notes. Barbie can select her outfit, push a button and it is delivered to her bedroom via the double helix moving rack.

The design is "modern, functional, spacious and fun", but it is also sustainable, reflecting the tenor of the times. Solar panels, bamboo flooring, shading screens, low flow bathroom fixtures and efficient heating and airconditioning equipment are all part of the design, the AIA says. There is no need for a garage or driveway; Barbie drives a Vespa, of course.

More than 8,400 people voted in the competition.

Ms Li and Ms Paklar said they were honoured to win the competition.

"Barbie was both of our favourite doll growing up in China and Croatia," they said in a joint statement. "We hope to encourage more young female architects to flex their design muscles and just to have fun with architecture."



Published: August 5, 2011 04:00 AM


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