M&Ms shot across the room, candy canes tum­bled over and mini marsh­mal­lows exploded into the air like pop­corn ker­nels on a hot stovetop.

No, this wasn’t a failed attempt at making a com­mer­cial for a candy store. Instead, it was the lively scene on Wednesday at the second annual gin­ger­bread house com­pe­ti­tion, which was held in the base­ment of the Snell Engi­neering Center and orga­nized by the North­eastern stu­dent chapter of the Amer­ican Society of Civil Engi­neers.

The com­pe­ti­tion fea­tured nine teams of engi­neering stu­dents, who were chal­lenged to build two-​​story, all-​​edible gin­ger­bread houses using a spread of candy and other ingre­di­ents pro­vided by ASCE. The Col­lege of Engineering’s earth­quake sim­u­lator, a shaker table that mimics seismic forces, then put the strength of the struc­tures to the test.

The gin­ger­bread houses were judged on aes­thetics, cre­ativity, struc­ture and sta­bility. Mishac Yegian, a Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Engi­neering who runs the shaker-​​table lab, presided over the competition.

The crowd of approx­i­mately 50 people, mainly stu­dents, roared with excite­ment as the shaking inten­si­fied and gin­ger­bread houses began to topple. Yegian donned a white hardhat and called the play-​​by-​​play action.

There’s no room for res­i­dents in there,” Yegian yelled as he pointed to one struc­ture built in the form of a silo. Another house, he joked, was “aes­thet­i­cally beau­tiful, but it looks like it was made of adobe.”

A team of four judges com­prising two stu­dents and two fac­ulty mem­bers ulti­mately declared the winner to be a trio of freshmen: Josh Trow­bridge, Nate Hewes and Adora Jackson.

After the vic­tory, Trow­bridge noted his team’s strategy of for­ti­fying the house’s base with Fluff and its walls with candy canes and Twiz­zlers. “When I saw it standing, I was astounded,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wait, it works!’ It was really exciting.”

Sarah Casey, a senior and vice pres­i­dent of ASCE, noted that the com­pe­ti­tion gave stu­dents the oppor­tu­nity to show­case their engi­neering skills in a fun and fes­tive way.

Yegian mar­veled at the stu­dents’ inge­nuity and cred­ited all of the teams for their cre­ativity and hard work. He chuckled when he declared that there might be a limit on much Fluff stu­dents could use to sup­port their houses in next year’s competition.

Orga­nizers said the stakes would be even higher next year, when gin­ger­bread houses will be three sto­ries high.