Gingerbread campus expanding with four new buildings

Katherine Harding, Office of Communications and Marketing



Just as Auburn University campus is expanding, so is its gingerbread campus counterpart.

Students in the Masters of Integrated Design and Construction Program, led by Associate Professor Paul Holley, are adding four new buildings to the gingerbread campus this fall: Hargis Hall, The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, Langdon Hall and Cater Hall. They have been working diligently to scan the buildings, draw up blueprints and make models of the four new miniature structures.

"This is the kick off to our holiday season," said Hans van der Reijden, managing director of The Hotel.  "It is a collaboration between the School of Building Science and The Hotel at Auburn University."

Van der Reijden and the hotel staff will unveil the new and fully decorated gingerbread buildings Dec. 1, coinciding with the lighting of The Hotel's Christmas tree and Auburn University's Christmas tree across the street on Samford Lawn.

The gingerbread campus has expanded every year since it began three years ago. It started with the iconic Samford Hall and soon expanded to include the chapel, historic train depot and the home to more than 87,000 football fans, Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Students used high-definition equipment with Light and Detection Radar, or LiDAR, technology to scan the buildings during the week of Oct. 2. Land surveyor Marshall McLeod of Mobile donated this piece of equipment to the McWhorter School of Building Science in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

The students then converted the scans to virtual models. Julian Vida, a student from Florence, Ala., described the process: "From the time that we started, it has been taking us about a week to go from taking 3D scans of all four buildings and then going to 3D modeling software, which we have to use in our professional practice."

The next step, the three-dimensional model building, takes two to three days as the models are made to scale out of wood that will last year to year.

The decorating, done fresh each year, is the last and most time-consuming step. Adlle Bonilla, master pastry chef and gingerbread campus decorator, says the hardest part is done for her: the building of the base. Bonilla then decorates the building with special gingerbread cookies and other edible decorations.

Last year the batch of cookies contained more than 290 eggs, 40 pounds of flour and up to 20 pounds of decorations, according to Bonilla. With the exception of the base, the entire building is edible. The total construction time last year was more than 270 hours.

Last Updated: Nov. 28, 2011

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