09 August 2011

Barbie's Dream House: Part II -- The Winning Design

Last week, in Part I of Barbie’s Dream House, I shared my thoughts on where the style icon could live while her new Malibu manse was being designed and built. This week, I’ll profile the winning design of the Mattel/American Institute of Architects competition.

First of all, the location on three acres of beach with ocean and mountain views on all sides can’t be beat.

The winning architects, Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA, planned a tall home with lots of glass, terrace and roof garden to maximize those views. Though both work in New York and neither grew up anywhere near Southern California, (Li is from China; Paklar from Croatia), they both totally got the feel of the place. They both also loved Barbie as young girls.

I like the sustainability emphasis of the project: solar panels, landscaped rooftop and irrigation system, operable shading devices, bamboo flooring, low flow toilet and sink fixtures, and locally sourced and manufactured materials and furnishings.

Here's a link to the plans for the home.

I dislike the lack of aging-in-place features, including an elevator to transport the now AARP-eligible Barbie between floors in her new home. I’m also curious about the powder room on Level 1 with no apparent entrance. Hmmmm. It also would have been nice to have a bathroom, (maybe with steam or sauna?) on the exercise level and a half bath on the office/meeting room level… But that’s just my own AARP-eligible bladder talking. Guess I’ll have to sneak into Barbie’s master suite or sledgehammer myself into the Level 1 powder room!

Feel free to share your comments below. I'm eager to hear from Barbie fans, fellow designers and architects alike.


  1. I'm curious as to where Barbie is supposed to park her pink Nissan Leaf? I'm certain she's driving in from the beach elevation.

  2. You make an excellent point! Thanks for sharing.


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