This is the oldest part of The Gingerbread City and has been inhabited in one way or another for over one thousand years. A network of intricate medieval ginger-pebbled streets leads to a historical Castle on the top of the hill right in the heart of the city.

This neighbourhood has a long history dating back to Medieval times and retains many older buildings. The sides of Castle Hill include homes and mixed-use buildings. The area is carefully planned with co-ordinated variety and consistent building lines and heights - and has a mix of architectural styles and green spaces. Definitely the kind of place you’d like to spend some time. If you like Castle Hill, you might enjoy a trip to Siena, Carcassonne, or Marseille.

This area of The Gingerbread City’s masterplan is split up into several individual plots. Teams from architecture and design companies were asked to pick one of these plots – and then supply a bespoke gingerbread building appropriate for it. Over the past few months, the wonderful buildings below have been conceived, designed, crafted, and baked by them to fit.

The buildings of Castle Hill

Gingerbread Shop & Gingerbread Jelly Bar
Artificial Kreativity

Window shoppers and passersby feel festive energies looking through the green glazed facade frontage of the Gingerbread Shop. Full height and fully fitted these glass gems are encased in gingerbread dough. Grab your groupons for this retail experience. Contrasting the Castle District of Gingerbread City flows a funky feline bar fitted for hipsters. They glue their eyes to the afternoon sun dripping through the jelly gem glazed facade of coloured lights. Gulping ginger wine and ginger snacks, this is the bar for festivity.

About the designers: Artificial Kreativity, founded by Rafael Portillo is a design studio exploring imagination, creativity, and innovation for cultural change within architecture, urbanism, art, and design. Past projects include explorations between experimental music and architecture, cognitive approach to creativity, architecture and technology, and recently the Invisible Kuwait photo-documentary exhibition.

The Palace of Light

BDP is renovating historic buildings for a greener future. Making heritage buildings more sustainable is just as important as preserving their history. The Palace of Gingerbread City has been adapted into a solar tower, transferring reflected sunlight into clean energy for the entire city. Positioned at the city’s highest point, this Palace of Light is now a central hub of zero-carbon transportation, utilising electric drone taxis and bikes docked at ‘charging trees’. The new elements on a green roof and solar tower are clearly defined using a timber waffle structure to separate it from the old.

About the designers: BDP is a major international, interdisciplinary practice of architects, designers, engineers and urbanists founded in 1961. They work closely with users, clients and the community to create special places for living, working, shopping, culture and learning.

Garibaldi Villas
Chris Dyson Architects

This design embraces London’s historical terrace architecture. The guiding principle is to retain and restore listed buildings, adapted to suit 21st-century living. The scheme treats each house individually, tailoring each design to celebrate the work that Chris Dyson Architects has done over the past decade. The main feature of the circular structure at the peak of the terrace defines their ambition to apply modern technologies into the conservation and development of Grade Listed buildings.

About the designers: As a practice, Chris Dyson Architects focusses on historic conservation, applying skills in sensitive building design to projects. They pride themselves on a high degree of attention to detail within historic buildings with the flair and innovation of modern design.

Biscotti Brewery
Forge Architects


We created our own ‘Archibrew’ to celebrate our 25th-anniversary last year; so it was only natural we were drawn towards the Biscotti Brewery plot! Our design takes inspiration from the old warehouses and historical hop stores we are lucky to work amongst in Borough, mixed with the newer distillery extension in corrugated gingerbread and the large gatehouse associated with the neighbouring monastery.

About the designers: Forge has been established in Southwark for over 25 years, and has extensive experience across all workstages and sectors. A mix of architects, technicians and assistants, they thoroughly enjoy collaborating to achieve pragmatic design solutions for the benefit of all; with both private clients and through their community work.

GRID Architects

A moving paradigm for new age living. Carousel is a place where people can live, work and play in the same building without the need for transportation. The inhabitants will live in their dwellings and access their workplace and communal spaces housed within a revolving hub above. The hub will rotate in two-hour intervals, based upon the circadian rhythm; resulting in a series of continuously interactive spaces as they align with dwellings. This will promote a healthier work-life balance and negate the need for the daily commute.

About the designers: Grid is a practice of architects and urban designers with a proven record of designing and delivering exemplary mixed-use and industry-leading residential developments.

Cookie Cutter Cafe
Jas Bhalla Architects

This design unites a historic timber frame building with a modern bicycle café and roof terrace, illustrating how the most successful towns and cities coalesce old with new. The project emphasizes the role of adaptive reuse, and how sometimes, traditional means of transport like cycling can be the most sustainable.

About the designers: Jas Bhalla Architects is an interdisciplinary design practice operating in the fields of architecture, town planning and urban design. Their work spans a broad spectrum, from strategic masterplans to intimate refurbishments.

Sussex Pond Pudding Villas
Pilbrow & Partners

This proposal creates a lively space for the community and presents a deconstructed rendition of historic architecture whilst preserving the heritage of Castle Hill. Creating a fusion between the past and present, Sussex Pond Pudding Villas proposes elevated canals as a means of future transport; linking together a variety of medieval houses and presenting a modern twist on traditional shared living.

About the designers: Pilbrow & Partners is an architecture and urban design studio specialising in complex mixed-use projects in sensitive heritage contexts. Besides a team of architects and urban planners, the practice is supported by resources in town planning, environmental analysis, parametric modelling, BIM, visualisation and model making.

Macaroon Monastery

Macaroon Monastery has fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. The approach to conserving the monastery is to embrace its historic nature and show how ancient buildings/ruins can be occupied by (and add character to) contemporary structures. The site is the welcoming point for visitors travelling by funicular and cable car to the castle and the monastery. The buildings and landscape have been designed as a public square, tourist node, and transport hub, relating directly to the theme of ‘Future of Transport’

About the designers: Purcell is the UK’s leading architectural practice specialising in heritage buildings. With over 70 years of experience, they proudly create sustainable places for tomorrow. Providing sensitive restoration and repair schemes and bold contemporary design in historic contexts.

Garibaldi Villas North
Sketch Architects

This live/work townhouse integrates future automated vehicle trends with an emphasis on e-vehicles, particularly bicycles. It includes a dedicated space for storing and charging and acts as a covered pick up/ drop off point for AV vehicles. This element also serves as a hydroponic greenhouse with an allotment shown too, providing residents opportunities to grow basic food items to reduce grocery trips and food delivery. The house can be affordably expanded meaning residents do not need to move further out of Gingerbread City to cheaper homes and can stay close to jobs, schools and communities reducing or removing commutes.

About the designers: Sketch Architects is a young, approachable and enthusiastic design-led architectural practice. They pride themselves on creating bespoke, well-detailed buildings which respond sympathetically to the site in which they are located and always strive to exceed client expectations.

SP Pudding Villas
Studio Partington

Situated on the castle mound and within a conservation area, SP Pudding Villas jams a unique confection of buildings into the plot, respecting the scale and grain of its context. A series of gabled biscuit bays will animate the street, culminating in the “conservatory”, a row of pitched wafer frames supporting translucent candied panes. Tiered terrace gardens preserve the site’s sloping terrain. All this is achieved while remaining at the cutting edge of sustainability with rooftop sucrose-voltaic panels to power the buildings and a SUgar Drainage System (SuDS) in the form of a syrup pond to provide suitable attenuation.

About the designers: Studio Partington is a multi-award winning design practice based in Hackney, London. Their team of architects has experience in a broad range of fields, having been fortunate to work with a variety of interesting people and organisations over the years.

Garibaldi Villas South
Type3 Studio

The terraced house is one of the most flexible and sustainable housing types imaginable. They have been adapted for changes in lifestyles for about 300 years, accommodating homes, offices, shops and schools. The terraced house creates a longitudinal connection between places, and allow a unique public realm to be established. This submission for the 2019 Gingerbread City will explore the role the terraced house plays in creating a sustainable and inclusive public realm, and celebrate it’s evolution in form and proportion over the centuries, to present day.

About the designers: Type3 studio is a full-service architectural practice, based in London. They provide a unique blend of conceptual thinking and project experience, spanning strategic briefing, architecture, interior design and master-planning.