- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 May 2020
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’.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- American architecture and construction.
- Fish Building, India.
- Haines Shoe House.
- ING House.
- Lucy the elephant.
- Mimetic architecture.
- Owl House, South Korea.
- Piano Building.
- Robot Building, Bangkok.
- Sheep and Dog Buildings, Tirau.
- Teapot Dome Service Station.
- The Big Basket.
- The Headington Shark.
- The Kelpies.
- Unusual building design of the week.
- Wonder Egg, Japan.
Featured articles and news
BSRIA examines factors driving the industry.
Ensuring designs are developed, validated and can be effectively implemented.
The Homebuyer Survey most suitable for newer homes or simple properties.
Health and safety practices for body and mind.
28 leading bodies set out their vision for the future.
Chancellor announces latest Winter Support packages.
Tapping technology to boost infrastructure and create jobs.
4 ways to ensure certificates are valid.
White elephant construction projects.
How Paul Williams bent over backwards to overcome racial barriers.
Organisation revises actions around dealing with COVID-19.
CIOB, NFCC, RIBA, RICS call for changes ahead of Building Safety Bill.
Developments in the Future Homes Standard.
An American chimney feature with a colourful past.