Lucy the Elephant - Building Novelty Architecture
The idea behind novelty architecture is apparent in many shapes and sizes like the basket-shaped building and glass high-heeled shoe. Buildings that resemble items or animals are very common throughout the world, but Lucy the Elephant is noted as the first example of novelty architecture. Novelty architecture is a fun way for companies to promote their brand and share with people what they do inside of the building. From teapots to the famous original Brown Derby, creating buildings that stand apart from the rest due to form imitating function is more common today; however, there was a day when Lucy the Elephant was the center of attention.
Lucy, whose original name was "Elephant Bazaar," was built in late 1881 of wood and tin by James V. Lafferty as a six-story tourist attraction for his real estate business. With a construction cost of $25,000-$38,000, Lucy was patented by Lafferty with an exclusive 17 year right to make and sell animal-shaped buildings.
Initially named "Elephant Bazaar", the structure stands at 65 feet (19.7 m) in height, 60 feet (18.3 m) in length, and 18 feet (5.5 m) in width and weighs about 90 tons. It is listed as the 12th tallest statue in the United States. Lucy was constructed with nearly one million pieces of wood, and required 200 kegs of nails, 4 tons of bolts and iron bars; 12,000 square feet of tin covers the exterior. There are 22 windows placed throughout the structure. (source)
In 1969, Lucy was saved from demolition and renovated with more modern features. Seven years later, she was added to the National Historical Register to make sure she would always be around. More recently, Lucy the Elephant has found a home as a hotel welcoming New Jersey visitors for the night. This spectacular elephant-shaped building has served as an observation deck for the Atlantic City boardwalk, a restaurant, and office building, In 2016, Lucy the Elephant was entered into the race for President of the United States. Although she did not win, Lucy remains a popular figure worldwide.
Learn more about Lucy the Elephant.
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