Let's See Those Buildings Designed to Look Like Something Else

The La Tete Carrée Library in Nice is an odd building. The giant blockhead looks as if it was hacked off a colossal statue and discarded in the middle of the city. However, inside the massive square head, is actually a three-floor library. The building has been charmingly dubbed, “Thinking Inside the Box.” In Hyde, Belgium you can spend a few nights inside a real Trojan horse. La Balade des Gnomes is a bed and breakfast built inside a giant wooden horse, complete with a drawbridge and movable head. From cafes that resemble giant grasshoppers to buildings that look like a LEGO elephant, these are just a few of the amazing buildings around the world that look like anything but, well, a building, and now we’d like to see more!


(Image:Derek Jensen/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about some of the most incredible buildings that were designed to look like something else. Where is this architectural marvel located and how did you discover it? What is the building used for, what is the story behind its construction? What type of impression did it leave on you? Be sure to include any pictures you might have as well. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura.

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Ah, ducks vs. decorated sheds!

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There’s an amazing house that looks like a large ship sandwiched on a backstreet in Almuñecar, Spain. I’d love to find out more about it!

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A great collection by a departed friend that has a lot of unique roadside architecture, some of which look like everyday objects.

https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/john-margolies-roadside-america-photograph-archive.html

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Not entirely sure if this neon dentist’s office in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma is meant to look like something other than a tooth, but I definitely choose tooth.


Dentista by David Cabrera, en Flickr

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There is a very unusual building in the small community of Grand Marais, MI. The pickle barrel house has an interesting history and continues to be an attraction. See: The Pickle Barrel House - Pickle Barrel House Iris Garden
image

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There is a building in Fort Worth, Texas that resembles an owl. My family and I refer to it as such. It is a relatively new building–less than 50 years old. Originally known as the Pier 1 building, here is a photo from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

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How about living in a saxophone?
Ace Architects, called the court jesters of California architecture by Vanity Fair, bring their sense of fun and whimsy to the Saxophone House. Built in 1997 for an amateur jazz player, the home delights the child in each of us with its swirling gold staircases, enchanting curved balconies with treble-clef railings, and commanding saxophone towers. And it’s for sale!

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1985-Tunnel-Rd_Berkeley_CA_94705_M22439-24511?cid=prt_patch_editorial_web_patch#photo24

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EMC Insurance Building in Des Moines – recalls the Absolut Vodka ads

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https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x1e6434e32937172b:0xda5164e3ea0f38a2!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/p/AF1QipN18iGjxUmScG9WKqepCvT5OfKIqvNQOx_pRhd8%3Dw150-h200-k-no!5sbig+pineapple+bathurst+-+Google+Search&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipN18iGjxUmScG9WKqepCvT5OfKIqvNQOx_pRhd8&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi8t5ezqd3kAhU2VBUIHRKBBl4QoiowE3oECA4QBg#

This is link to Big Pineapple Tourist Shop in Bathurst South Africa which is a Tourist and information centre

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I was surprised no one else mentioned the Binocular Building that now houses Google’s Venice Beach office.

The Binocular Building - Venice, CA

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Portland, Oregon’s Sandy Jug is likely the only example of a mimetic building like this left in the state. Built in the late 1920’s as an auto garage and lunch counter and once part of a large complex including a 70-foot-tall oil derrick and Moorish temple (for selling tires), it’d been a bar since the early '30s and a strip club since the mid-'80s. Today, it’s called Pirate’s Cove.

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Not as unique perhaps as a giant picnic basket, but we loved this building in our neighborhood in Louisville, KY, aptly nicknamed the “Doily Building,” as I’m sure you can see why.

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There is a shoe-shaped house in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania (near York) called the “Haines Shoe House”. It was modeled after a work boot.

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This one is in a suburb of Tokyo and i think it looks like a giant sperm, lol!

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The amazing Idle Hour in North Hollywood, CA shaped like a whiskey barrel…and the Bulldog Cafe building that sits in the back patio. Idle Hours was restored by the 1933 Group and the Bulldog Cafe was acquired from the Peterson Automotive Museum.


Here’s some history!
https://www.idlehourbar.com/our-history

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Hey @Capemarsh. I am the owner and author for the AlmunecarInfo site. Here is a tiny bit more about the house.

Casa Meu Barco (Boat House) requires a bit of time to soak it all in. So walk leisurely and notice all the detail, with coral and an anchor down by the street. The ‘ship’ is actually home to a retired sea captain named Pepe. After thirty years at sea he retired to Almuñecar and built a full-size replica of his boat to live in. It is a 4 bedroom house with terraces and amazing sea views.

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Hickory Corner, aka The Pumpkin House in NJ!

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