Mimetic Architecture, also known as Programmatic Architecture or Novelty, is an architectural style in which the buildings are designed in unusual shapes that mimic the function of the building, or the product it is associated with. Mimetic architecture aims to advertise a business or copy famous buildings without the aim of being authentic. These buildings often serve as landmarks of the regions that they are located in. The mimetic architecture was popularised in the United States in the first half of the 20th century.
Here are some of the best examples of Mimetic Architecture.
The Big Duck
The Big Duck in Long Island is a ferrocement building in the shape of a duck. It was built in 1931 by duck farmer Martin Maurer to be used as a roadside farm stand to sell ducks and duck eggs. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It is now used as a gift shop. The building is 6 meters tall and is in the shape of a Pekin duck.
The Big Basket Building (Longaberger Company Home Office)
The Longaberger Company produced and distributed handcrafted maple wood baskets. The new headquarters of the Longaberger Company was in the shape of a wooden basket to emulate their products. The seven-story building was opened in 1997 in Ohio and was owned by the same company until 2016.
Kansas City Library Parking Garage
The parking garage of the Kansas City Library is well-known for its artistic facade which is designated to look like a bookshelf. It showcases the spines of 22 books that were chosen by the votes of the citizens of Kansas City.
The Piano House
Piano House in China depicts a large piano and a violin leaning on it. The piano building was built using black glass panels interlaced with white glass that symbolize the keys of the piano and it houses two concert halls. The transparent violin contains escalators and staircases. The building is a famous spot for newlyweds who come to have their photos taken in front of it therefore it is nicknamed by the locals the “most romantic building in China”.
The Haines Shoe House
The Haines Shoe House is located in Pennsylvania, United States and it is in the shape of a shoe. It was built in 1948 and was owned by the famous shoe salesman Mahlon Haines, also known as the ”Shoe Wizard”, to promote his stores. The building resembles one of his work boots. It is 7.8 meters high and 5.2 meters wide and it is visible from US Route 30.