- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 13 Jan 2018
The Big Basket
See more articles in the Unusual building design of the week series here.
The Big Basket building, in Newark, Ohio, was built as the headquarters of the Longaberger Company, an American manufacturer of handcrafted maple wood baskets and other lifestyle products. It is one of the most famous examples of mimetic or novelty architecture, in which buildings are designed to mimic or represent objects associated with their function.
Architects had initially proposed designs that were merely suggestive of a basket, until the company's founder Dave Longaberger pointed to one of the baskets and told them to “make it look exactly like that”.
The 180,000 sq. ft. building cost $30 m to construct and was completed in 1997. It is 7-storeys tall with a central atrium and glass ceiling to provide natural light. It is topped by two steel handles, each weighing 75 tons, which are fitted with heating elements to prevent them from freezing and so protecting the glass atrium below from falling ice. On each side of the top of the building are two gold-leaf-painted 'Longaberger' tags measuring 25 x 7 ft.
In February 2016, after a period of falling profits and staff reductions, Longaberger's parent company JRJR Networks announced that the remaining employees would be moved out from the Newark headquarters.
One of the common problems with mimetic architecture, is its re-sale value, and the future of the Big Basket building has been uncertain. However, there does appear to be popular support in Newark for preserving it as a local landmark, with ideas for future uses including; converting it into a hotel, a multi-family residence, senior housing or an academic building.
Jim Klein, a former Longaberger president who hopes to get the building included on the National Register of Historic Places, said: “The Big Basket is like the St. Louis Arch. It's a really important part of southeastern Ohio history."
In January 2018, it as reported that the Big Basket had been sold to local developer Steve Coon for $1.2m, considerably less than the asking price of $7.5m. Coon has not revealed what he intends to do with the building. Ref https://quartzy.qz.com/1176205/basket-shaped-building-in-ohio-is-sold/
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Ark Encounter, Kentucky.
- Big Duck.
- Building of the week series.
- CCTV Headquarters.
- Dali Theatre and Museum.
- Dancing House, Prague.
- Dunmore Pineapple.
- Fish Building, India.
- Little Crooked House, Poland.
- Luxor Las Vegas.
- Mimetic architecture.
- Office Center 1000 Kaunas.
- Robot Building, Bangkok.
- The Oculus.
- Unusual building design of the week.
- Watts Towers.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Reminding us what is possible.
Five signs you are at risk.
Biotechnology as it applies to the built environment.
Stopping sound coming through windows.
Government response to the Building a Safer Future consultation.
Energy savings quickly payback any small additional capital investment.
Overbuild and air-space developments.
Airports National Policy Statement and its impact on infrastructure.
Organisations will collaborate on infrastructure initiatives.
Technology informs procurement and planning practices.
BSRIA releases market sector growth projections.