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Boston’s Sweet Medical Firsts: ARC’s Gingerbread Creation

12.28.17 / Theresa Palid

For the first time, ARC competed in the Boston Society of Architects’ (BSA) annual Gingerbread Design Competition. This year’s theme was “Innovations and Firsts,” celebrating 150 years of innovation in Boston, coinciding with the BSA’s 150th anniversary.

Our gingerbread creation, “Boston’s Sweet Medical Firsts,” pays tribute to the rich tradition of medical innovation in Boston, dating back hundreds of years. The structure of our gingerbread creation is a nod to the classic game “Operation.” A giant gingerbread person with candy-shaped cutouts lies on a fondant-covered rice-crispy operating table. Each of the cutouts represents a medical first in Boston, such as the 1954 first organ transplant and the 2011 first bionic lower leg. The list of Boston medical firsts was so long, it was a struggle to choose just five! We settled on at least one innovation from each century, to demonstrate the continuous prominence of medical innovation throughout Boston’s history.

We modeled our structure in SketchUp and carefully traced and baked each piece.

Next, we “glued” the pieces together using icing.

Then came the fun part – decorating!

Miniature gingerbread doctors and nurses take vitals using a giant stethoscope, carry gear for the bionic leg, and administer a vaccine (representing the first inoculation in the United States). There’s even a fellow patient wandering by, complete with a hospital gown, miniature walker, and IV bag.

Our hard work and creative storytelling paid off, and we were awarded “Judge’s Choice” by the BSA. 

The competition also includes an online auction. Thanks to generous donors, ARC has raised over $800 so far for the BSA Foundation’s community design programs. Donations can be made through the end of the month here. The gingerbread creations will remain on display at the BSA Space through Dec 31.



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