By EDEN STIFFMAN
EDEN STIFFMAN The Dallas Morning News
Published: 17 February 2013 10:58 PM
Girl Scout cookies can make mouths water, but they can also get the wheels turning.
On Sunday, teams of Scouts paired with female architects and engineers to turn empty cookie boxes into elaborate, free-standing structures. The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas launched its seventh annual cookie box design contest at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Organizers say the contest, open to sixth-grade Scouts and older, aims to expose girls to architecture and engineering while helping cookie booth sales, which begin Friday.
Months of planning came to fruition Sunday at the museum as eight teams hot-glued, taped and applied the finishing touches on their cookie box creations. Designs for the contest can take up to 800 flattened-out cookie boxes (cookies not included).
Collaboration and planning were key as the teams brought their structures to life. Some teams include Scouts who had not met before the competition, while others were made up of girls from the same troop.
Nine sixth- to ninth-graders from Troop 9448, which meets at Dallas ISD’s Harry Stone Montessori Academy, worked together to assemble their “Space Invaders Take Dallas!” design.
The team’s creation featured geometric aliens inspired by the pixelated figures in the retro arcade game Space Invaders, descending on landmark Dallas buildings.
“I pass by the skyline every morning,” said Alexus Salinas, 13, who had the idea to construct a version of the Bank of America building in Thin Mint green and a replica of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge made of orange Do-Si-Dos boxes.
Though Salinas admired the buildings of her city, she wasn’t really interested in architecture before she began the Girl Scout project. But now, she says a career in engineering or architecture is a possibility.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.
In December, the troop met in a conference room at the Dallas office of the international architectural firm HKS to pitch design ideas for this year’s “Out of This World” theme.
Ginger Grossman, an HKS human resources employee, along with an interior designer, two structural engineers and two architects volunteered to meet with the girls to help advise on everything from the conceptual stage to physical construction.
“The girls have really gotten into it,” said Grossman, a former Girl Scout. “They get to socialize with each other while working together toward a common goal.”
Women from 12 architectural firms worked with the 75 Scouts who participated in this year’s contest.
Gerri Gordon, one of the two managers behind the project, said the design contest is one way the organization is encouraging older Scouts to remain involved in the group.
Beyond using their imaginations, the Scouts are also learning to use design software. They’ll also get a chance to get professional insights on a tour of Cowboys Stadium with some of the HKS Sports & Entertainment Group architects who designed it.
Local community leaders will evaluate the teams’ work Monday based on technical difficulty, creativity, engineering difficulty, and use of color and materials.
The public will also have a chance to see the Scouts’ creations at the museum through March 17. Friends and visitors can vote for a “people’s choice award” online or at the museum. Winners will be announced next month.