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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
"More new homes at social rent will, in the long run, make all housing more affordable". Read our interview with National Housing Federation's David Orr.
Government have announced plans to tackle the practice of gazumping. But what is it?
With Uber being refused its licence renewal in London, how can data-driven mobility influence public transport alternatives?
This proposed Dubai skyscraper has a 'breathing' ceramic facade, described as the world's tallest.
Drivers of older and more polluting vehicles in central London are now subject to the T-charge.
An introductory article to the performance specification.
Demographics, digital tech, climate change, AI - all challenges facing the built environment. Enter our ideas competition.
Conservation professionals are needed more than ever, but on different and non-elitist terms.
Lessons from Australia on how to make affordable, sustainable housing a reality.
Adjaye Associates reveal their designs for a new espionage museum in New York.
CIAT submit their recommendations to the government's Grenfell Tower inquiry. See the summary here.
Read our introductory article on collaborative practices for building design and construction.
Read about the history behind one of Italy's most recognisible buildings.