No matter the growing interest in dollhouses it is rare that one finds an article devoted to dollhouses in the mainstream media, unless it is around the holidays or someone wealthy has died who collected them. It is even stranger to find a full length article on dollhouses in a magazine devoted to emerging technologies. An article on dollhouses did appear in a recent issue of Wired, an American magazine that most people think of in terms of computers or technology. The article written by Wired staff reporter Liz Stinson, is called “20 Fantastic Dollhouses Designed by Famous Architects” and provides descriptions and photos from dollhouses that were created by architects to benefit a children’s organization called KIDS that helps disabled children in the UK. The rules the architects were given was to design a dollhouse approximately 30” by 30” and the dollhouse should contain an accessibility feature that would benefit the disabled.
Ms. Stinson’s point in the article is that while most of us will never own a home designed by a world famous architect it might be possible to obtain a miniature version as a dollhouse. While still out of reach for most individuals with handcrafted dollhouses by famous architects will still run into the thousands of dollars, the article confirms what we dollhouse lovers already know – that dollhouses can be the dream house we are unlikely ever to own in full size. Or they can be the Victorian home or colonial home or futuristic modern home that we would never really want to live in but enjoy decorating in miniature. Perhaps it is somewhat the same for architects and designers who create unique dollhouses for charity events. In miniature, a designer or architect can try something new and bold that maybe the world is not ready for in prime time.
The Wired article depicts homes by such well known architects as Zaha Hadid who created a wood puzzle dollhouse that is fun to look at but doesn’t look like it would be fun to live there. The same goes for Studio Egret West’s Puzzle House which contains a diving board, a propeller, ladder stairs, and a chain. Guy Hollaway’s Jack in the Box which turns into an inflatable home looks fun but would still be a little uncomfortable as a home. Elvis’s Tree House by Amodels looks like the fun jungle jim it was modeled after. On the other hand, Chris Ofili’s contribution to dollhouses looks like an interesting place to live with its accessible space for living and working inside and outside.
Dollhouses can be many things to many people, working model, a toy, a work of art, a way to learn architecture or interior design, a creative outlet, a way to raise money, or even a tool for teaching the police how to work a crime scene. No matter how they are created and what use we put them to, dollhouses continue to amaze and delight.
All photos courtesy of Thomas Butler