Quacking Around

Here are the best architectural ducks of 2017

Architecture National
Here are the best architectural ducks of 2017. Bjarke Ingels's LEGO House in Denmark. (Courtesy LEGO)
Here are the best architectural ducks of 2017. Bjarke Ingels's LEGO House in Denmark. (Courtesy LEGO)

It has been 40 years since Learning from Las Vegas introduced the world to the idea of the architectural duck. Though often held up as everything that is wrong with postmodernism, ducks seem to have some real lasting power. Every year, a number of projects take the idea of the duck a few steps further. 2017 has been no exception. Here are some of this year’s most notable ducks.

LEGO House  – Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Billund, Denmark

There may be no toy in existence which has had a bigger impact on the minds of future architects than Legos. Located in Billund, Denmark, BIG’s LEGO House takes the idea of a duck to an extreme. The LEGO House’s is comprised of 21 LEGO-shaped volumes, with round skylights on the top level resembling the iconic two-by-four LEGO block. The project was conceived as an interactive attraction for the Billund’s Downtown, where LEGO is headquartered.

The Apple Store from above, while still under construction. (Matthew Messner/AN)

Apple Flagship Store – Foster + Partners
Chicago, Illinois

Over the past decade and a half, Apple has been constructing flagship stores around the world by designers such as Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Norman Foster. Their latest seems to take the company’s branding very seriously. The new Foster-designed Chicago flagship takes the undeniable form of an Apple laptop. Early rumors predicted the ultra-thin long-span carbon fiber roof would be adorned with the iconic apple symbol. While that rumor never proved to be true, the grey roof from above still resembles a giant Macbook Pro.

“Domestikator” by Atelier Van Lieshout. (Courtesy Atelier Van Lieshout)

Domestikator” – Atelier Van Lieshout
Paris, France

Though originally created in 2015, “Domestikator” by Atelier Van Lieshout made its way back into the headlines when the Louvre refused to display the building-size artwork this year. The Louvre’s art director, Jean-Luc Martinez, stated that the fear of “being misunderstood by visitors” was the reason for the reversal in plans to show the work during the FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair in the Tuileries Gardens. Atelier Van Lieshout’s founder, Joep Van Lieshout, had planned to live in the structure through the duration of the festival.

(Courtesy Seminole Tribe of Florida)

The guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (Courtesy Seminole Tribe of Florida)

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida

Still under construction, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a $1.5-billion entertainment development that takes the shape of a immense electric guitar body. At 450 feet tall, the hotel will include 600 rooms, multiple restaurants, and a 41,000-square-foot spa. While the shape of the hotel does not include the neck or head of the guitar, a series of six vertical fins resembling guitar strings run up the front of the building. Rather than a typical groundbreaking, the project had a “guitar smashing ceremony,” and is expected to be complete in 2019.

Interior, looking east (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Studio Gang’s design for the addition to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, American Museum of Natural History – Studio Gang Architects
Washington, D.C.

Studio Gang is no stranger to biomorphic forms in its designs. The new addition and renovation to the American Museum of Natural History, currently still in the design phases, takes this interest a few steps further. While the exterior resembles a weathered rock face, the interior takes on the form of a full-out natural cave. Though formally resembling a subterranean cavern, vast expanses of glass bring bright natural light into the space. The 235,000-square-foot Gilder Center is expected to open in 2020.

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