While some architects prefer to take more subtle cues from the natural world, others go whole hog (or sheep or elephant or cat) and make grand structures shaped like animals. A kindergarden shaped like cat, a skyscraper shaped like an elephant, a hotel shaped like a crocodile — these are just a few of the forms that animal-shaped architecture has taken. Here are 10 examples of animal architecture from around the world.
Lucy the elephant, Margate City, New Jersey
This six-story wooden elephant, which was constructed in 1881 by James V. Lafferty, has served as a hotel, cottage, tavern, office, and restaurant.
Kitty shaped Kindergarden, Karlsruhe, Germany
There is no cuter thing than a cat-shaped kindergarten. Designed by Tomi Ungerer and Ayla Suzan Yöndel.
Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Kakadu National Park, North Australia
Starting in the 1960's Australia's big things were developed to offer road trippers a place to stop along their journey. The crocodile shaped hotel of Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn in the Northern Territory was one of those big things.
Elephant Building (Chang Building), Bangkok
The 32-floor (102 m or 335 ft) high iconic building was completed in 1997 as a collaboration between Dr. Arthur Chaisaree and Ong-ard Satrabhandhu.
Sheep and Dog-shaped buildings in Tirau, New Zealand
Housing a wool and craft store the "Sheep" building would be considered a great example of mimetic architecture. The "Dog" building houses the town's Information Center. We have found conflicting information on the dates of construction though the most common dates reported seem to be 1994 for the "Sheep" and 1998 for the "Dog" which was built to compliment the "Sheep".
Big Duck, Flanders, Long Island, New York
This duck-shaped ferrocement building was originally built in 1931 by Broadway set designers the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager in 1931. Yeager used it as a shop to sell ducks and eggs.
National Fisheries Development Board Building, Hyderabad, India
The four-storey building was officially opened in April 2012, and was reportedly inspired by Frank Gehry's monumental 'Fish' sculpture in Barcelona which was completed in 1992. The building is an example of mimetic architecture, incorporating elements of the fish form into its functionality. This includes the left pectoral fin doubling as an awning above the staircase to the entrance, and the two circular windows acting as eyes.
Dog Bark Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
This hotel has only one suite—inside the world's biggest beagle named Sweet Willy. It was built by Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin in 2003.
BALADE DES GNOMES Durbuy, Belgium
A hotel room shaped like a Trojan horse. Watch over your shoulder....
Giant koala- Dadswells Bridge, Australia
Amongst the most iconic —and cuddliest — of Australia's 100-plus Paul Bunyan-sized roadside tourist traps is a souvenir-peddling visitors center in the tiny Victorian town of Dadswell Bridge that takes the form of a gargantuan koala bear. Completed in 1989 and later affectionately named "Sam" in remembrance of a sweet-natured female koala that was rescued during the catastrophic Black Saturday bush fires of 2009 and became the resilience-symbolizing poster-animal of the tragedy, the 46-foot-tall Giant Koala Tourist Complex is also home to an adjacent restaurant, ice cream and lollipop shop, outdoor BBQ area and a small zoo that's home to two real-life arboreal marsupials named Karla and Cuddles.
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