5 Magical Buildings that were Designed to Look like Other Objects

Novelty architecture is what happens when form doesn’t follow function, or rather, when a structure functions as a spectacle in addition to its original purpose. From roadside attractions to the Statue of Liberty, sculptural buildings have long been popular in the U.S. and abroad. They often take the form of animals, food, or other inanimate objects, like an elephant-shaped tourist stop, a milk-bottle ice cream stand, or Frank Gehry’s famous Binoculars Building. Here, AD has gathered nine of the best examples of these architectural marvels that have become destinations by virtue of their playful designs.

Binoculars Building (Los Angeles)

One of architect Frank Gehry’s most recognizable structures, the Binoculars Building in Los Angeles features an entrance in the shape of its namesake object.

Basket Building (Newark, Ohio)

Located in Newark, Ohio, the former headquarters of the Longaberger Company are in the shape of its most iconic product—a wooden basket. The structure is known as the Basket Building and was completed by NBBJ in 1997.

Lucy the Elephant (Margate City, New Jersey)

The oldest remaining roadside attraction in America, Lucy the Elephant was built in 1881 in Margate City, New Jersey, for real estate promotion. The six-story structure features a deck on top with views of Atlantic City.

Lucy the Elephant (Margate City, New Jersey)

The oldest remaining roadside attraction in America, Lucy the Elephant was built in 1881 in Margate City, New Jersey, for real estate promotion. The six-story structure features a deck on top with views of Atlantic City.

High-Heel Wedding Church (Budai Township, Taiwan)

Set to open in 2018, the High-Heel Wedding Church is a glass building in the Budai Township of Taiwan intended for wedding services. The structure is also meant as a memorial for the blackfoot disease outbreak in the 1950s, an epidemic on the southwest coast of Taiwan caused by well water that had high concentrations of arsenic, leading to gangrene and other ailments.

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