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A dollhouse reflecting earth

Dutch architect Peter Masselink initiated a memorable dollhouse design project. Our architect Tamara Goguadze contributed with a model marquette that is reflecting a journey across the globe. Behind the dollhouses in this project lies a special story.

Two of the children of the initiator of the project suffer from a mitochondrial disease, Masselink’s oldest daughter Juliet already passed away, his son Sverre is now 7. Children with this disease do not grow very old and are limited in their mobility. Playing with special dollhouses provides them with new possibilities and interactions with other people, like family and caretakers.

A traditional dollhouse is a reflection of things we know. Just the big world made small. But what if there is no such relationship to the real world? What if a child has its own rules and own world? How would a dollhouse for such a child look like?

Tamara designed a dollhouse around the theme of travelling. “Children with mitochondrial disease are inhibited for travelling. They often cannot go far away from home. Therefore I came up with a dollhouse that reflects different landscapes of our planet: the oceans, forests, cities, sand hills, mountains and ice.”

She has put each landscape in a different box, the size of the box reflecting the spatial presence of each landscape. For example, cities only account for two per cent of our planet’s surface. The city landscape will therefore be in the smallest box.

Historically, dollhouses are built according to the international standard of a 1:12 scale. This was once invented and since then used everywhere. Tamara’s dollhouse has quite a volume. The base of the biggest box is 60x60 cm and the height is around 75 cm.

The box is made of is from cheap and every day materials like spaghetti, paper and wooden skewers. The reason for this approach is that parents can easily create a dollhouse for their children themselves. It just takes one stop at the supermarket.

For the children there is much to play with dollhouse. “Childeren can arrange the boxes in each way they want and thus create their own journey,” says Tamara.

Photos and stories of the dollhouses in this project are bundeld in the publication 1:12 Verbeeldingskracht in zorgarchitecture (1:12 Imagination in the care architecture). Contributions are made by Peter Masselink/ Vincenth Schreurs/ Gerard van Heel, De Architecten Cie, Hans van Heeswijk, Office Winhov, M3H architecten, Zecc architecten, Mei architecs, Maurer United Architects, Hilberinkbosch architecten, Dreessen Willemse Architecten, Space & Matter, Willem Jan Landman/ Christiaan Quesada van Berenstyen, Ralp Brodruck, Femke Stout, Marjolijn Guldemond, Jet Prijzel, DaF architecten, Reonald Westendijk/ Solange Hagenaars, Atelier PUUUR

The dollhouses will also tour around the country. For more information follow Doll’s House on Facebook.