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  • SoCal Gingerbread Challenge Promotes Structural Engineering

SoCal Gingerbread Challenge Promotes Structural Engineering

December 12, 2022 9:32 PM | Anonymous

This week, thousands visited SEAOSC’s first SoCal Gingerbread Challenge in person and online to see revel in the festive creations made by more than a dozen teams from across the region. (If you weren’t able to make it, you can visit the structures online here.) On Thursday, dozens of engineers and industry professionals assembled at the Burbank Town Center where they had only five hours to create (and decorate) their structures. The results were impressive, as many of the in-person attendees reacted to seeing the structures with gasps of awe and disbelief: “These were built in only 5 hours!?”

From Friday through Sunday, the public was invited to see what Structural Engineers do when it comes to making buildings stand up. From the youngest “future engineer” to retirees who were interested in seeing the spectacle, all ages came to the exhibit to see the structures. While judges, including an architect and building official, evaluated the structures on Friday morning, all attendees and online visitors were invited to cast a vote for their favorite structure – the most votes being crowned the people’s choice award. And as a way to give back this season, every structure was paired with a nonprofit organization; and every vote was a donation to that partner organization. By 5pm on Sunday, when the voting had closed, more than 3,000 votes had been cast in person and online.

With the competition closed, teams returned to the location where they had spent an intense five hours just days before for an awards ceremony and reception. The results were in; the judges and public had spoken. The winners were:

  1. People’s Choice: Union Station (Structural Focus/Architectural Resources Group)

  2. President’s Award: Union Station (Structural Focus/Architectural Resources Group)

  3. Best in Show: Once-ler’s House from The Lorax (SGH)

  4. Tallest: Eastern Columbia Building (Structural Technologies)

  5. Most Creative Original Structure: ICC 'Elf-valuation' Service Certification Workshop (ICC-ES)

  6. Best Replica Building: Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts (IMEG)

  7. Best Decorated: Casita from Encanto (Buro Happold)


The reaction from participants and the attendees alike will make this an annual tradition. With some improvements from this year, the SoCal Gingerbread Challenge will return in 2023, and every SEAOSC member should consider forming or joining a team to compete! Teams were able to deepen bonds within their companies and even create deeper connections with clients and partner firms (like architects) as they planned and executed their structures. Ultimately, this was an opportunity to promote the profession and reach new people on what structural engineers do and how essential their work is to the existence of our cities and communities. You can see more on this in news reports from local papers and TV news.

Structural Engineers Association Southern California

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The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) is the oldest structural engineering association in the world. 

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