Innovative Dollhouses Built by the World’s Best Architects and Designers

World famous architect Edwin Lutyens designed a stunning dollhouse for Queen Mary in the 1920s. The creation inspired UK property developers Cathedral Group to ask 20 contemporary architects and designers (in collaboration with artists and other creatives) to build a dolls’ house suitable for the 21st century. There was one other caveat: each design had to include at least one feature that would cater to children with disabilities. Bonhams will be exhibiting the finished works and hosting an auction, which is already taking place online. All proceeds support UK charity KIDS, which aids disabled young people and their families. We’ve selected several of our favorite designs, all stylish, innovative, and imaginative. Be sure to visit the auction page for more and to learn about this great cause — which we first learned about from Lost at E Minor.

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Coffey Architects

Inside Out is an inclusive dolls’ house for all children whatever their needs and abilities. One element is a concrete house with a bonsai tree and herb garden which sits outside. The second, a series of elements that are individual oak rooms, hollowed out in bright colours that can be inserted into the house. It is fun for children and encourages outdoor play and most importantly raises a critical housing issue for families with disabled children.”

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Dexter Moren Associates

Haptic House is based on the concept of ‘sensory play,’ the dolls’ house encourages children to look, listen, touch and feel. A series of components, identical in character, which aim to inspire children, bring the house to life by stimulating the primary senses. Unlike conventional doll’s house design, the 360-degree access means there are no defined rules of how it should be played — inviting the option of group play or individual discovery.”

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Fat Architecture, in Collaboration with Artist Grayson Perry

Tower of Fable is a fantasy about a very real piece of architecture: a toy sized remake of the Balfron Tower. This transformation brings out qualities of Goldfinger’s architecture that lie just beneath its surface. Brutalism here is revealed as exciting as a country cottage. High architecture joins with the imagination of inhabitation and fantasies of play. Which of course, is exactly what architecture should always be.”

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Zaha Hadid Architects

This must be the place is an interpretation of the Ideal House pavilion commissioned in 2007, the ZHA doll’s house is a puzzle offering many possibilities to play and experiment in creating endless variety of unique compositions. It is designed to encourage a continual re-evaluation of composition and form. Pieces can be assembled and dismantled in many combinations, to be re-assessed with each new composition — voids are interpreted as new unique rooms or courtyards for dolls to inhabit.”

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Amodels

Elvisʼs Tree House is based on a real playground in Southampton. The simple concept was to be as physically challenging as possible, because kids learn for themselves faster that way. So why Elvis, well thatʼs a long story.”

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Guy Hollaway, in Collaboration with Hemingway Design

Jack in a Box is a design solution which makes the imaginary reality so that the child can live within their fantasy, becoming ‘Alice’. They are confronted by a simple box. When switched on, the inflatable structure inside begins to fill with air powered by an integrated fan. In a sequence of events, the dolls’ house roof opens and the walls collapse to allow the organic structure to grow out of the box.”

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mae, in Collaboration with MAKLab and Burro Happold

mae-mak house is a house that can grow and change. It engages the senses and allows kids to stick and stack walls, floors, roofs to form a simple house, a complex house, many houses or a very big house. Brightly coloured and textured panels are made to stimulate the senses and inspire customisation. It exploits mae’s interest in flexible housing, MAKLab’s skill at fabrication and Buro Happold’s understanding of inclusive design.'”

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Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan, in Collaboration with Artists Ishbel Myerscough, Chantal Joffe and Poet Lemn Sissay

there’s a place out there to the west of town
where nobody pushes no one around
a place where birds and fishes play
on a giant coral far away
where the sun is warm and the breeze is cool
and the sea is bluer than a swimming pool
you can play music and dance all day
on a giant coral far away
a house on a coral in the deep blue sea
a house on a coral in the deep blue sea
just imagine you could be
in the house on a coral in the deep blue sea

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DRMM, in Collaboration with Richard Woods Studio and Grymsdyke Farm

House for a Deaf Child has been designed around the consideration of a deaf child. It’s an object to play and learn with, but also is a space to inhabit, designed to support visual communication through sign language. The exterior has adjustable pieces to give colour expression on the outside, and control of light and views from the inside. With further discovery these pieces can be reconfigured into new spaces and furniture.”

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James Ramsey Raad Studio, in Collaboration with Artist Lara Apponyi

The Grimm’s House is not just a dolls’ house, but an interpretation of an illustrated fairy tale book for blind children. White, enigmatic, and somewhat menacing, the house is meant to be explored by touch. The story of Hansel and Gretel, written in braille, circumscribes the exterior, its jagged path mirroring the narrative of the story. The interior cavity is a tactile exploration of the fairytale, sculpted from hard candy, braided hair, and bones. The house translates an unnerving yet universal experience for children with sight into a new interpretation for those without.”