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    In the Spotlight

    PMA Participates in Hilton Village Gingerbread Celebration

    Walls of gingerbread, bowls and bowls of royal icing, isomalt panels, and a fondant Le Corbusier Lc2 Sofa. It was all things sweet here at PMA this past month. Hilton Village’s Gingerbread Celebration was held on Saturday, December 9th and this year, PMA decided to join in on the fun by recreating its iconic Village building at 10325 Warwick Avenue.

    Interior Designer Hannah Rivera and Architectural Designers Erin Coleman and Shi Xu "Sara" working on construction.

    For architects and designers, constructing a gingerbread house seemed like a no brainer, but through the process, we learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of creating with baked goods instead of construction materials. Few of us had built a gingerbread house, usually from store-bought kits, and even fewer had worked with baking products like isomalt or edible glue. We didn’t even know most of these edible ingredients existed until this project! We did run into some structural issues (even in Gingerbread Land, roofs need a truss system!), but we are happy to have completed our task with a standing creation.

    Gingerbread PMA includes details like the half-timber exterior, the polycarbonate translucent panel in the lobby with “PMA Architecture” logo, and some of our favorite art pieces like local artist Dathan Kane’s work. Our library was carefully recreated with books and even a bowling pin from a past project. Architectural drawings and coffee mugs were carefully detailed and placed on tables, so you knew it was us. To give the building a festive look, carefully piped Christmas trees lined the front, and a cheerful gum paste wreath was hung at the gable.

    The team brought the interior of Gingerbread PMA to life.

    To get the look of the slate roof and flooring, hundreds of pieces of black licorice gum were carefully cut and glued to the gingerbread roof panels with edible glue, and then distressed with edible black luster dust.

    We even created a tiny gingerbread PMA to go inside the larger gingerbread PMA which sat inside the actual PMA. One on-looker at the celebration on Saturday called it “Ginger-inception” and we couldn’t be happier with that description.

    We’re perhaps most proud of our nod to PMA’s principals, Jeff and Katie. Our decision to do the PMA building was hinged on capturing their likeness. With one of our favorite Jeff bowties in leopard print with red accent and Katie’s signature notebook and pencil, we knew we had achieved gingerbread perfection.

    At the end of the night, our hard work and effort paid off: Gingerbread PMA was awarded “Judges Choice”. We are proud of the accolade.

    At the event, we were able to see our competition. There were so many stunning pieces produced by talented groups and individuals who were brave enough to answer the call of gingerbread. Among the many works was a recreation of Jack and Sally’s houses from “A Nightmare Before Christmas” (which deservedly won the Villager’s Choice award), Bowser’s castle from the new Mario movie (complete with Bowser at the piano singing to Princess Peach), a gingerbread village attacked by a dragon with Krampus, an adorable and colorful cat tower, and local buildings like Hilton Village Elementary and Thrive Peninsula’s complex.


    Scenes from the Gingerbread Celebration on December 9th, 2023.

    The Gingerbread Celebration is an annual event in the Village, attended by Hilton neighbors and the greater Newport News community alike. The festival featured a parade of lights down Main Street, holiday musical performances by local youths, and artisans selling treats and holiday gifts to attendees. Businesses along Warwick Avenue and Main Street offered extended hours for holiday shopping and served as venues to display the amazing gingerbread creations.

    The celebration also included a fundraiser for our friends at Thrive Peninsula. One canned food item or a cash donation was required to vote for your favorite gingerbread creation. In total, this year’s competition gathered 456lbs of food and $219! We must give heart-felt congratulations and thanks to the organizers of the event, Hilton Village Main Street, and those who attended that donated to a wonderful organization such as Thrive.

    The event put all of us here at PMA in a warm holiday mood, although we all agree that we’ll pass on the gingerbread cookies this year.

    Text by Jess Archer

    Photos by Jess Archer and Jessica Newell