- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 31 Oct 2017
The Big Duck is a building in the shape of a duck on Long Island, New York. It is an early example of mimetic architecture, where the design of the building mimics its purpose or function. The Big Duck was built in 1931 by Martin Maurer a duck farmer who used it as a shop to sell his produce.
The building is made from ferro-cement applied over a timber frame and wire mesh. It measures 5.5 m (18 ft) wide, 9.1 m (30 ft) long, and 6.1 m (20 ft) tall. The duck’s eyes are made from Ford Model-T tail lights.
Maurer moved the building to Flanders, Long Island, in 1937 where it stood until his duck ranch closed in 1984. Suffolk County acquired the building in 1988 and moved it elsewhere before it was returned to Flanders in 2007.
It was the inspiration for the Robert Venturi coined term ‘duck’, referring to a building that conforms to its purpose, and featured in his influential book ‘Learning from Las Vegas’.
Now containing a gift shop, the Big Duck is considered one of Long Island’s landmarks and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Applications have to be in by the end of the week.
Reflections on the 5th Annual Global Congress of Knowledge Economy, held in Qingdao, China.
An artist finds ruined and decaying buildings a source of inspiration for his work. Book review.
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.