Trained architect uses knowledge of structures to make gingerbread creations
This year, Jonathan Moore built a gingerbread Tampa Museum of Art.
Business Observer Staff
| 6:10 p.m. December 16, 2020
Every holiday season, gingerbread houses spring up around the region, with most people muddling through the building process.
Jonathan Moore, trained architect and president of Tampa-based owner’s representative, project and bank consulting firm InVision Advisors, doesn’t muddle through — he uses his experience to inform his creations, making them structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. This year, he even built a gingerbread Tampa Museum of Art.
“I’m not a professional gingerbread man, but I’m an architect,” Moore tells Coffee Talk. “I went to architecture school, and I’ve been building models for 30-plus years.”
Over the years, Moore has built several gingerbread creations with his children, including doghouses, a rocket ship and the Eiffel Tower. After serving as owner’s representative of the St. Pete Pier, Moore also plans to make a gingerbread pier this year, using his knowledge of the pier’s structural system.
Whether working on a 69-story tower or a gingerbread creation, certain principles remain the same. “With any good architect, it all starts with a set of blueprints,” says Moore. “When we are managing a project, we spend as much time on paper as we can, knowing things are easier to figure out on paper.” For his gingerbread structures, he draws them first and then creates a template that helps him cut the dough.
“If this was a real building, you have to have a foundation that’s sturdy,” says Moore. “The first thing I do is choose the right base.” For gingerbread, it’s key to use a base that’s sturdy enough to hold the weight of the structure and won’t break when the creation is moved.
Another tip? Materials matter. There’s nothing wrong with gingerbread kits, he says, but making gingerbread himself allows him to start from scratch and have a blank canvas for building. He’s also partial to frosting to join pieces together. “Frosting is very forgiving — and it’s very tasty,” says Moore. “Frosting acts a lot like mortar in concrete blocks.”
One thing Moore doesn’t do is obsess over details. “I never build a gingerbread house that is a true replica,” he says. “Gingerbread houses need to be whimsical. They need to make you smile. It’s a world where gumdrops substitute for people, Twizzlers become columns and there’s an unlimited budget.”