Novelty architecture is a type of architecture in which buildings and other structures are given unusual shapes as a novelty, such as advertising, notoriety as a landmark, or simple eccentricity of the owner or architect. Many examples of novelty architecture take the form of buildings that resemble the products sold inside to attract drive-by customers. Others are attractions all by themselves, such as giant animals, fruits, and vegetables, or replicas of famous buildings. And others are merely unusual shapes or made of unusual building materials.
Some hotel casinos on the Las Vegas Strip can be considered novelty architecture, including the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel and the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, a building designed to look like the New York City skyline.
Novelty architecture is also used extensively in amusement parks such as Disneyland to fit their playful and sometimes retro theme.
Programmatic (also known as mimetic or mimic) architecture is characterized by constructions in the forms of objects not normally associated with buildings, such as characters, animals, people or household objects. There may be an element of caricature or a cartoonish element associated with the architecture.
- Lucy the Elephant, an architectural folly in Margate City, New Jersey
- The Longaberger Company's head office in Newark, Ohio which is in the form of a giant basket
In the 1930s, as automobile travel became popular in the United States, one way of attracting motorists to a diner, coffee shop, or roadside attraction was to build the building in an unusual shape, especially the shape of the things sold there. "Mimic" architecture became a trend, and many roadside coffee shops were built in the shape of giant coffee pots; hot dog stands were built in the shape of giant hot dogs; and fruit stands were built in the shape of oranges or other fruit.
- Tail o' the Pup, a hot dog-shaped hot dog stand in Los Angeles, California
- Brown Derby, a derby-shaped restaurant
- Bondurant's Pharmacy, a mortar-and-pestle pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky
Water towers, often a prominent feature in a small town, have often been shaped or decorated to look like everyday objects.
- Peachoid, a peach-shaped water tower in Gaffney, South Carolina. There are other peach-shaped water towers in Byron, Georgia and Clanton, Alabama
- Coffee pot water tower in Lindstrom, Minnesota (see Gallery)
- Corn cob water tower in Rochester, Minnesota (see Gallery)
- Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower in Collinsville, Illinois (see Gallery)
- Paul Bunyan's Fishing Bobber water tower in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota (see Gallery)
- Coffee pot water tower in Stanton, Iowa
- Strawberry water tower in Poteet, Texas
- Teapot water tower in Kingsburg, California
- Wine bottle water tower in Rutherglen, Victoria (built in 1900, now dilapidated)
Several breweries and other businesses have designed holding tanks in the shape of giant cans of beer or other containers.
- "World's Largest Six-Pack" brewery holding tanks in La Crosse, Wisconsin
- "World's Largest Hormel Chili Can" in Beloit, Wisconsin
Another aspect of novelty architecture is sculptures of ordinary items scaled to enormous size.
- Various roadside parks and attractions in the U.S. feature giant sculptures of Paul Bunyan and dinosaurs.
- Louisville Slugger Museum, a building in Louisville, Kentucky that features a giant baseball bat
- Cleveland Airport, which includes giant "paper" aircraft in one terminal.
- Cowboy boots at North Star Mall, San Antonio, Texas
- Nut-shaped sculptures in at least two American cities, Brunswick, Missouri and Seguin, Texas are claimed to be "the world's largest pecan".  The Brunswick pecan is much larger and heavier, but the Seguin pecan is arguably more realistically rendered.
- A giant rotating candy bar, reading "Curtiss Baby Ruth" on one side and "Curtis Butterfinger" on the other, at the former Curtiss Candy Company factory in Franklin Park, Illinois, since acquired (and redesigned) by Nestlé.
- Gigantic baseball paraphernalia and other novelties, such as bats and gloves, team logos, "big apples", and even supersized Land O'Lakes milk bottles, at various baseball parks including Yankee Stadium, Comerica Park, AT&T Park, Angel Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Shea Stadium, and the Metrodome.
- A replica of Stonehenge made with junked cars, Carhenge, located in Alliance, Nebraska.
- A giant bottle of Aji-no-moto is located next to NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) in Bulacan, Philippines.
- The world's largest tire is displayed along Interstate 94 in Allen Park, Michigan.
- Giant Coke bottle atop the Green Monster outfield wall at Fenway Park.
Architecture popular in the 1950s-1960s in southern California and in Florida featured sharp corners, tilted roofs, starburst designs, and fanciful shapes. This came to be known as Googie Doo Wop or populuxe architecture.
Long-established firms whose features are well-known could still qualify as novelty architecture. A couple of examples would be McDonald's original golden-arches design, originating in California as many of the novelty designs have; and the self-referencing design of the White Castle restaurants.
Some critics claim that much of today's contemporary architecture under the guise of Deconstructivism is actually Novelty architecture. Practitioners include leading architects such as Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid.
Coffeepot water tower in Lindstrom, Minnesota, built in 1902
Corn cob water tower in Rochester, Minnesota, built in 1931
World's Largest Catsup Bottle water tower in Collinsville, Illinois, built in 1949
Paul Bunyan's Fishing Bobber water tower in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota
The Donut Hole in La Puente, California
At Cabazon Dinosaurs in California, this dinosaur's belly holds a souvenir shop.
- List of world's largest roadside attractions
- Australia's big things
- New Zealand's big things
- Folly and Category:Folly buildings
- Faux château, a house built to look like a castle
- Ice hotels, temporary hotels made of ice and snow, found in the coldest regions of the world
- Agility Nut: Novelty architecture site
- The Many Unusual Looking Buildings On Earth
- Roadside America: Big Coffee Pots
- Strange and Unusual Buildings – Several examples from across the U.S.
- The American Roadside: News and updates on America's fading roadside attractions
- Tacky Tourist Photos
- ^ Anicic, John Charles (2005). Fontana: Images of Americ. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 83. ISBN 0738529001. http://books.google.com/books?id=sFRMHbAZQqEC&pg=PA83&lpg=PA83&dq=Loomis+P.+DeVries&source=bl&ots=5b7xxUS29b&sig=MoHs9TXUhGclckQMbeS2wlCf4UI&hl=en&ei=TgFPTameIILHgAfUtajgDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Loomis%20P.%20DeVries&f=false. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
- ^ "Roadside America. ''Fontana, California - Giant Orange Stand''". Roadsideamerica.com. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/10600. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
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