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21 Dolls' Houses Designed by Famous Architects

Big names think small: a line-up of architectural stars have designed disability-aware dolls’ houses for a children’s charity auction

From Adjaye through to Zaha, the line-up of well known architects behind this enchanting project is impressive. Taking loose inspiration from Edwin Lutyens’ 1924 Dolls’ House for young Queen Mary, a 4.5 tonne ensemble demostrating British craftsmanship and interior design, the brief asked contributors to create elaborate miniture houses to sit upon a 750mm square plinth. Additionally each house must incorporate into the design at least one aspect to make the life of a disabled child easier, offering a small insight into each practices’ attitute to disability.

Each house will be auctioned at Bonham’s of London raising money for disabled children’s chairty, Kids. Whilst some designs are more successful than others in capturing the spirit of the project, that does not appear to be reflected in current bigging activity.


Edwin Lutyens’ enourmous 1924 Dolls’ House was made to a scale of 1:12 for Queen Mary

Zaha Hadid

This may be the place

Zaha Hadid Architects’ house is a miniature reincarnation of the Ideal House pavilion the practice designed for the 2007 Cologne Furniture Fair in 2007. A number of reconfigurable wooden blocks surround a transparent core. The current bid of this dolls’ house is £9,000 making it easily the most expensive piece in the auction despite the reserve not yet having been met.



Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Compass House

Keeping children with visual impairment in mind, architects AHMM reveal this Modernist villa that a Modernist sympathising Barbie and Ken might enjoy as a weekend retreat. Fully furnished and equipped with car and garden facilities, the design attempts to deploy colour and texture as stimulants for those with impaired sight.



David Adjaye

Electra House

Golden furniture combined with continuous spaces and wheelchair accessibility make Adjaye’s dolls’ house a firm favourite to pass DDA regulations and appealing to those with a taste for bling.


Duggan Morris


In collaboration with Unit 22 Modelmakers, Duggan Morris have taken an alternative approach of dolls houses in plan rather than the typical cross section.



Jigsaw House

Twenty six partners at Make have each designed an individual hut which combine to form a single fortress of colour and textures.




Tower of fable

A Lego-inspired remake of Erno Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower in East London.


James Ramsey Raad

The Grimm’s House

Collaborating with Artist Lar Apponyi to create a somewhat eerie physical interpretation of the Grimm Brother’s Hansel and Gretel, James Ramsey Raad designed this doll’s house for blind children. The narrative of the fairy-tale is written in braille sprawling across the walls, whilst a number of odd objects sit inside the spaces including a human hair braid, hard candy and bones.




Guy Hollaway

Jack in the box

Guy Hollaway gives the language of a traditional children’s toy a new dimension. Like Doctor Who’s Tardis this Dolls’ house is larger on the inside than it first appears. The traditional pitched roof of this box-like family home opens out revealing an inflatable cocoon large enough to accommodate four human children (or four hundred dolls). The cocoon, made of a white breathable membrane provides a soft play safe environment for children of all abilities.



Lifeschutz Davidson Sandilands


A quaint country home for the Sylvanian Families it may not be, but LDS’s 2.5 metre tall tower gives each doll the liberty to pick up and relocate their modular accommodation within the block. The dolls’ house, built by Azur MGM model makers uses three-sided cubes that can be configured and stacked continuously. Featuring a wealth of contrasting colours and textures intended to appeal to children with impaired vision, the tower also accommodates sensory aids such as lights, bubbles and animal sounds.



Elvis’s tree house

Gently proving that any child can create their own dream dolls’ house at home without the aid of CNC fabrication or expensive materials is this contribution from Amodels. The studio has created a glamorous minitue tree house inhabited exclusively by toy Elvis Presley clones. The designers argue that an adventerous attitue to play is not incompatible with disabled childen.

Their thought process reflects a Danish philosophy whereby play for children with disabilities should be physically challenging pushing children to learn for themselves. This school of thought suggest the parental instinct to protect a physically vulnerable child is a potential constraint for learning and adventure. The model is based on a particular playground in Southampton which Spark Park’ encourages children with and without disabilities to play together and includes unusual wheelchair accessible features such as a slide that covers an entire hillside and a rope swing with a runway.













Curators: Cathedral Group
Charity: Kids
Auction: 11/11/13 Bonhams London
Participating Architects: Coffey, Zaha, MAKE, Guy Hollaway, David Adjaye, HLM, FAT, Glenn Howells, MAE, DRDH, DRMM, Dexter Moren, Duggan Morris, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, AModels, Lifschutz Davidson, James Ramsey Raad, Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan, SHEDKM, Studio Egret West

Readers' comments (2)

  • Mahsa


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  • the more famous the architect
    the more dull the house.
    wasn't having a child a requirement to enter?

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