Three area architectural firms are giving back to the Pedriatric Cancer Foundation by designing and building life-sized playhouses to be displayed at the inaugural Playhouse Competition and Design Showcase at Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem.
Members of the American Institute of Architects, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter are excited for their first appearance in a competition of this kind, one that has been previously held by other AIA chapters in the nation. Entries will be on display Nov. 21-Dec. 22 at Christkindlmarkt, a seasonal holiday gift bazaar, and will be judged before Dec. 1 by members of the AIA.
Although there is no prize for the winning project, an architect at one of the participating firms said the competition means much more.
"It's really not about winning, but more about getting involved in the community," said Elliot Nolter, a junior architect for Spillman Farmer Architects in Bethlehem and one of the project leaders for its playhouse entry in the competition.
"It's also a good way to promote what architects do, to a larger audience," Nolter said.
He developed the concept for Spillman Farmer's entry, called "Slathouse," which resembles a flexible blanket/cardboard fort, which he said most children have made or played in at least once.
Leading the construction of Spillman Farmer's project is Clint Newton, project manager for the company. Newton owns 3 Cubed Studio in Easton, where the project was built.
"Making people aware of what architects do, participating in the community and helping a pediatric cancer charity made joining this event a no brainer for us," Newton said.
The two other firms in the competition are Ryan G. Welty of Whitehall, a member of AIA and Lehigh University Department of Art, Architecture and Design of Bethlehem.
The showcase is in the courtyard at Christkindlmarkt at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 E. First St., Bethlehem.
People can bid on their favorite playhouse during the month-long event in an effort to win one of them. Proceeds of the silent auction will be donated to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The winning architectural project entry will be announced Dec. 1.