Frequently questioned answers (FQA)

This forum is for discussion of organizing the Green Dollhouse Challenge, and issues for Educators.
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Frequently questioned answers (FQA)

Post by shawn »

The following are special points about our Green Dollhouse Challenge that commonly get confused. If you have a difficult question, please reply to this post, and we'll put helpful answers below.

GDC is not a competition.
There are awards, but participants do not have to beat other participants to get an award, they merely need to achieve some standard determined by the jurors, appropriate to the award category. Two or more entries may earn the same award, and a single entry may earn more than one award. But no one is guaranteed any award without actually earning it. Event organizers may encourage local awards that are competitive, like "kids' choice," but these should not be the main focus of the event or of the awards ceremony in particular, which should rather honor the creativity of the participants and reflect on the diversity of what it is to think "green."
Each award has it's own value in its own dimension, not to be compared with other awards. It would be silly to argue whether a person who uses only solar electricity is more or less "green" than a person who eats no meat, and any final judgement demeaning to the good actions of the lesser. There is no single path, and there should be no single winner of a Green Dollhouse Challenge.

Entries can be any sort of architecture.
We only have the word 'dollhouse' in our name because 'play structure' is unwieldy. Qualifying entries have included playgrounds, school buildings, store-interiors, gardens, farms, and a motor-home.

Sustainability can be expressed in either the building, the design, and/or the play.
The building does not have to be a 'sustainable house.' Participants qualify as long as they explore and/or express sustainability at least somewhere in their process, from design to presentation to play. For example, imagine a dollhouse that doesn't look like a sustainable home at all when manufactured, but the design is such that the obvious way to play with it is to make it more sustainable.

People of any age may participate, individually or in groups. Anyone can help anyone.
Since this is not a competition (see above), there's no worry about pitting adults against children, professional architects against hobbyists, or people with 3-D printers against people with straws, sticks, and dirt. If anyone is either jealous or contemptuous of another person for their entry, they are not imbibing in the spirit of play and may need to give themselves a time out or perhaps a bowl of ice cream.

It is more important that an entry is playful than that it is a serious architectural model. This is a dollhouse-challenge, not an architectural competition.
Jurors should look at an entry asking "What does playing with this model have to do with sustainability?" rather than "Is this a model of sustainability?" For example, an entry that gets children to play re-using materials is more valuable than a model that re-uses materials but doesn't express that to the end-user, although the latter still may deserve a re-use award. On the other hand, if a child, in preparing their entry, is play-acting as an architect seriously considering sustainability, that should be valued in itself and it's OK if the final product is a very serious, by-the-book, sustainable home, just like mummy and daddy's actual straw-bale, floating, algae-powered, recycled yurt-ark. In short, sometimes play is creativity, while other times play is mime.
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