The List: Five buildings good enough to eat

A giant gingerbread house big enough to walk around will open next weekend in a shopping centre in central London. It’s just the latest (and tastiest) example of constructions that are destined for early demolition.

1. The giant gingerbread house

Designed by Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture, this fairy-tale house with chocolate furniture and a lawn lined with cupcakes is being opened for one weekend only (June 3-5) at the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, in aid of nearby Great Ormond Street Hospital. Approached through a garden with a pond of sweets, the house will be clad in tiles made from gingerbread and shortcrust pastry flavoured with vanilla or chocolate. Inside, there’s chocolate furniture, a stool made from sweets, and (best of all) a chimney spewing out popcorn instead of smoke.

11am-5pm daily, entrance by donation (minimum £2)

2. Giant cake map of Yorkshire

Not just one big edible building, but a hundred. Bakers in Yorkshire and the north-east have signed up to make large-scale copies of famous buildings and bits of coastline and countryside for this year’s Cakebook event on June 26 at the National Trust’s Gibside, near Gateshead. All the sponge-based landmarks will be placed in geographically correct positions to form a giant edible map of the region. Last year’s event featured a gravity-defying cake replica of Antony Gormley’s giant Angel of the North sculpture.

3. The Eathouse, Netherlands

First built last summer in a park, the Eathouse was designed to be a temporary structure that can be taken down and re-erected. It’s made of modular scaffolding and packing crates with soil meshed on to them. Vegetables grow inside, outside, and on the roof. It looks like a child’s drawing of a house with lettuce growing on it.

4. Cuccagna monuments, Italy

Occasionally revived in modern times, Cuccagna monuments were built as the centrepiece for Italian festivals of the 17th and 18th centuries. A wood scaffolding base was covered with meat, sweets, bread and other food – forming a spectacular edible tower. A particularly elaborate Cuccagna monument was built to celebrate the birth of King Charles III’s first son in 1747. According to tradition, when the king gave the order the townspeople would storm the Cuccagna and grab what food they could.

Last year, English “food experience” company Bompas & Parr created a “Ziggurat of Flavour” at the Big Chill music festival – inspired by the monuments. B&P’s version, however, allowed visitors to climb inside, smell pleasantly vaporised (Fairtrade) fruit, and then exit via a big slide.

5. The House of Meat, US

It hasn’t been built yet but TED fellow and urban designer Mitchell Joachim makes a persuasive argument for using meat grown in a test tube as the building blocks for a real home. Fatty cells could be used for insulation, and sphincter muscles for doors and windows. Mitchell’s teams in Brooklyn are researching the possibilities, and they’ve already displayed a prototype outside Prague Cathedral.

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