World's best architects design Dolls' Houses for charity auction

By Richard Moss | 07 November 2013

What happens when you ask 20 of the world’s top architects to design and build a dolls’ house?

a photo of a concrete dolls' house
Coffey Architecture, Inside Out© Coffey Architecture. Photo Thomas Butler
The results, which are about to be auctioned in aid of disabled children’s charity KIDS, reveal much about the language and pre-occupations of current architecture and design practice - and offer some innovative approaches to disability in children.

Warming to their task, Adjaye Associates collaborated with Base Models and artist Chris Ofili to produce a contemporary two-story dwelling in which the ground floor is a “continuous space, undulating between outdoor courtyard and creative indoor space”.

“Light is a phenomenological presence inside the house," they add. "Its properties of reflection, luminosity and movement provide the focal experience for all.”

Fat Architecture's collaboration with Grayson Perry resulted in a toy-sized take on the Brutalist vision of Erno Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower. 

“High architecture joins with the imagination of inhabitation and fantasies of play,” they say, “which of course, is exactly what architecture should always be.”

Architects grappling with the issues facing children with developmental disabilities included Duggan Morris Architects, whose design, Multi-story, in intended to aid early intervention strategies for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The resulting rooms are stackable and interchangeable to provide a focused platform for learning and role play.

Similarly, DRMM collaborated with Richard Woods Studio and Grymsdyke Farm to produce a house for deaf children. And James Ramsey Raad Studio worked with artist Lara Apponyi to fashion a house for blind children that can be enjoyed through the sense of touch. 

The project was inspired by the Dolls’ House Sir Edward Lutyens designed for The British Empire Exhibition, at Wembley in 1922, to display the very best of modern architecture, craftsmanship, art and interior design.

  • A selection of the houses are on display at Senator, 11-13 Melton Street, London, NW1 2EA, open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Auction takes place at Bonhams, London on November 11.

The full list of artists and designers: Adjaye Associates, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, AMODELS, Coffey Architecture, Dexter Moren, DRDH Architects, dRMM, Duggan Morris Architects, FAT Architecture, Glenn Howells Architects, Guy Hollaway Architects, HLM Architects, James Ramsey RAAD Studio with Lara Apponyi, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, mae, Make Architects, Morag Myerscough & Luke Morgan, Shedkm, Studio Egret West and Zaha Hadid Architects.

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a photo of a model of a series of boxed rooms stacked on a central fulcrum
SHEDKM - in collaboration with artist James Ireland, Outside/In.© SHEDKM. Photo Thomas Butler
a photo of a blow up structure like an igloo with a central column in the centre
Guy Holloway in collaboration with Hemingway Design, Jack in a Box© Guy Hollway. Photo Thomas Butler
a photo of a series of painted boxes with dolls and other objects inside them
Studio Egret West in collaboration with Andrew Logan, Puzzle House© Studio Egret West. Photo Thomas Butler
a photo of a series of models of small houses stacked upon one another
Make Architects, Jigsaw House© Make Architects: Photo Thomas Butler
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