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Designing Architect Barbie's Dream House

The very modest first edition Dream House

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) was actually pretty excited when the annual Barbie “I Can Be” contest (finally, and after much debate) selected architect as Barbie’s career for 2011. In fact, AIA is so excited about it they’ve already featured her in two events. The first was a talk led by a female architect for 7-9-year-old girls (Barbie’s main demographic) in order to introduce them to the idea of pursuing a career in architecture when they’re older (the girls were each given their very own Architect Barbie as a reminder). The second event is slightly, umm, dreamier – a competition for AIA members to design Barbie’s Dream House. As a former Dream House owner (Mine was a rickety plastic fold-out model for easy storage) I’m looking forward to what actual designers (sorry Mattel) come up with to accommodate Barbie’s fun, playful, entertaining-heavy lifestyle.

The no-expenses-spared guidelines call for an “ultra-cool” garage with room for three cars, minimum, as well as a “large, stylish” bathroom and a “functional and fabulous” kitchen with “top-of-the-line appliances.” Of course, Barbie needs plenty of room for her extensive and theme-oriented wardrobe. “As the original fashionista,” she says, “you can imagine how large my closet needs to be.” Complete guidelines are available on the AIA site, where they remind you “not to take it too seriously – Barbie is a doll after all! Just think pink and you’ll do fine.” I noticed that nowhere in her specs does Barbie mention LEED certification, sustainable building practices or energy savers like solar power or wind turbines, but I guess in a dream world the environment is humming along perfectly.

For inspiration, check out these images of Dream Houses of the past, including a real-life Dream House built for Barbie by Jonathan Adler for her 50th birthday in 2009 (below).

Jonathan Adler’s take on Barbie’s dream bedroom, complete with a closet just for pink platform heels.

Dream or nightmare?

Barbie’s domestic fantasies a la 1978