Are these gingerbread houses the best ever?

Are these gingerbread houses the best ever?
Some of the festive creations. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
A popular Swedish Christmas tradition is taking a bite out of Stockholm's housing shortage – by building gingerbread houses to illustrate innovative solutions to the crisis.

ArkDes, an architecture and design centre in Stockholm, has launched its annual gingerbread house design competition – one that showcases Swedish Christmas bakers' creative talent.

Multi-storey buildings and a small village. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

In its 25th year running, the competition in 2015 focuses on new solutions for the Swedish capital's growing housing crisis (the average wait for an apartment is eight years in the public housing queue) with the slogan: “New crib – live in new ways”.

Setting up the exhibition. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“Our idea was to get suggestions and ideas about completely new ways to live together,” Karin Åberg Waern, ArkDes interim director, told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

The Tower of Babel. In gingerbread. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

A total of 82 different houses are currently on display at the design centre, showcasing solutions ranging from high-rise buildings to UFOs. Competitors include actual architects, design students and school classes.

Could a gingerbread UFO solve the housing crisis? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Building gingerbread houses is a staple tradition of the Swedish Christmas calendar, with children in particular creating buildings with their families or in schools. But assembling the works, using melted sugar as glue, can be more difficult than expected.

“It takes time. You have to plan and create templates so that you know you've got all parts. It can also be good to 'test build' the house so that you know it works,” bakery worker Sara Aasum Hultberg told TT.

Anyone for a Lord of the Rings-style hobbit house? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The exhibition, on the Skeppsholmen island in Stockholm, runs until January 10th. Entry is free. A jury will pick out the winners, but members of the public are also allowed to select their favourite online or at the centre.