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Moore's second annual Gingerbread House-Building competition tipped its Santa hat to one of Philadelphia's most famous statues. 

As a nod to the 100th anniversary of Auguste Rodin's death in 2017, Interior Design students were given a prompt to build a holiday dwelling on Eakins Oval for the artist's famous sculpture The Thinker, not far from the city's Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The students were to construct an environment for him to do some festive sitting and thinking, and take into consideration the many visitors he will welcome each day.

Team A seniors Arina Gray, Lojain Hamed, Grace Matteson, An Du and Courtney Machamer cut the graham crackers to make a geodesic dome, modeled after an iconic building in France.

"We did a little research and in 1906 the figure was moved outside the Panthéon, so we decided to do that as one of our influences, and we also wanted to do a nod to ancient Roman spectatorship, so we tried to do amphitheater-type seating," said Machamer. 

Team B, made up of Amity Tanner '19, Carmeen Hutchinson '18, Giovani Anggasta '19 and Autumn Davis '18, chose to depict a traditional manger scene, complete with fluffy marshmallow sheep and gingerbread cookie people.

"We made the three wise men, Mary and Joseph all out of gingerbread men (cookies) and we used icing for the robes, and for Jesus we used The Thinker," said Davis. "And then we ended up making these cute little sheep that were made out of marshmallows all glued together."

Team C members included sophomores Alexis Rivers, Ashley Adams, Lara Stover, Alexa Rosenblatt and Taylor Smith.

"We made a viewing area that was under the pavilion so you could have a nice view of The Thinker on top of an arched monument, which is also a sculpture in itself that has a fountain in the middle made of candy canes," said Rosenblatt. "We broke open a blue marker and mixed it with white icing to make the fountain water."

Judges included Interior Design alumni Chene Bates '17 and Katelynn Perri '16, as well as Instructor Don Rushton, Professor Francine Martini and department Chair Kathy Dethier.

"Each one had elements that were really exciting," said Martini, who wore a red and white sweater dress that looked like a Santa Claus outfit. "It was a tough choice."

Team B won the competition, getting points for creativity and neatness.

"The detail in it, with the sheep and the manger people pushed it over the top," Martini said. The team was awarded a certificate for a pizza party.

Amity Tanner's sweater, with its lighted bow in the back and lighted tree on the front, won the 'ugly sweater' sweater contest. She won a soft blanket and bragging rights.

Published on November 30th, 2017