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Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Big Duck

My daughter turns four tomorrow, so today my wife and I took her with some friends to a farm on Long Island for strawberry picking. On the way we just had to stop by The Big Duck, a famous roadside attraction that Robert Venturi and gang popularized in Learning from Las Vegas. Here is the spread where the authors outline the argument of the Duck versus the Decorated Shed; the duck is modernist form as meaning, while the shed is signage communicating meaning. It's a familiar argument that I won't go into here. Instead I'll just post some pics from the brief visit.

The Big Duck and its signage (decorated shed?):
The Big Duck

A nice profile:
The Big Duck

The birthday girl (scale figure):
The Big Duck

The front door:
The Big Duck

The back door:
The Big Duck

A close-up:
The Big Duck

4 comments:

  1. Those images would be a great addition to good old Mick Charney's slide show when he reviews mimetic architecture. Looks like a fun weekend!

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  2. As a child in the early '50s, one ov my thrills was to visit the 'Big Duck' on our way to visit my grandparents for the summer. The earliest mention of this as architecture was Peter Blake in "God's Own Junkyard: The Planned Deterioration of America's Landscape" (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964). Venturi refered to this a decade later in his work.

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    Replies
    1. Jonathan - Ah, yes, I had to pull that off my shelf to take a look. Blake put The Big Duck below a quote from Vitruvius and across from some photos of real ducks in a pond being fed by people.

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  3. I'm very jealous of your daughter! I want to go to the big duck! Alas, as I cannot justify a plane from England on a student budget... Great post, and it looks like you had fun!

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