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Shaped Like What It Sells

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Sometimes the easiest way to tell what a store sells is by looking at the shape of the store itself. Like a library shaped like a stack of books or a Burger Shack that's a giant burger, Shaped Like What It Sells is a building that is modeled and designed to look like the product(s) that's inside of it. According to The Field Guide to Sprawl, in Real Life, the name for this type of a building is a "duck," after a duck-shaped duckling stand (the term was coined by architect Robert Venturi), or mimetic architecture.

Should a giant entity mistake it for the real deal, This Billboard Needs Some Salt will likely ensue.

A Subtrope of Bizarrchitecture. Supertrope of The Dinnermobile. Not to be confused with Shaped Like Itself. Compare with Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

In rare cases, this is Truth in Television, as some companies build facilities in the shape of their product as a promotional tactic and some towns have buildings shaped like iconic items from their region as a tourist attraction. These buildings are rare because they have to be custom-designed, which greatly boosts the cost.


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    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Pinocchio, some of the buildings in Pleasure Island, including a smoking house shaped like a pipe and a pool hall in the form of an eight-ball.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Pie Hole of Pushing Daisies is shaped like a giant pie.
  • There was a joke along these lines in one episode of How I Met Your Mother. Ted was designing a building shaped like a 10-gallon hat for some cheesy Texan Rib-joint franchise. Instead, they went with a Mecha-Godzilla shaped building (wearing a cowboy hat). No businessman is going to have a building design that needlessly complex if he's not going to sell souvenirs inside...unless, of course, he's been charmed by the powers of Sven.
  • Arrested Development: The Bluths' one consistent moneymaker is the frozen banana stand, which is shaped like a banana.
  • The Brady Bunch: A client, Beebee Gallini, freaks Mike out when she asks him to design her makeup factory first in the shape of a powder puff, then a lipstick, and finally a compact, complete with hinged roof.
  • Clarissa Explains It All: Marshall Darling is an architect who seems to specialize in these.
  • My Name Is Earl: Pop's Hot Dog Cart in "Stole P's HD Cart."

    Video Games 
  • In Rollercoaster Tycoon, almost every concession stand has an option to be shaped like the things it sells (and most of these do so by default): A lemonade stand shaped like a lemon, a cold drinks stand shaped like four cans, a burger stand shaped like a cheeseburger...
  • Theme Park has the Coffee Shop, Pokey Cola, Big Time Fries and the Big Time Burger shops.
  • Banjo-Tooie has Big Al's Burgers and Salty Joe's Fries, a hamburger stand and french fry stand shaped like their respective products.
  • In Space Quest 4, Monolith Burger does this, probably for laughs because it's a parody of McDonald's. You even have to work there to make money.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has two examples of this that can be found in the Mojave. The first is the Sunset Sarsaparilla factory that has a front entrance shaped liked a bottle of the titular drink. The second is the Dino Delight motel which has a giant Dinky The Dinosaur statue that doubles as a shop that sells small Dinky action figures as well as a few other things. Interestingly, both locations need to be photographed for a sidequest where an artist in New Vegas uses them for inspiration for making his own neon signs.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series has quite a few of these such as Rusty Brown's Ring Donuts.
  • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series has an interesting aversion to this trope: rather than being shaped like what they sell, buildings are often shaped like the pokemon who own them.
  • In PaRappa the Rapper, the "Sweety Cakes" bake shop is shaped like a giant cake.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic 4, several creature dwellings are shaped like the units that are recruited in them, for example Wolf Den being a giant wolf Cave Mouth, and Tiger Den having the stripes of a white tiger.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The main shops of Neopets are themed like this: The food shop is a hamburger, the book shop is a book, the auction house is a mallet, the post office is a postal parcel, the pizza shop is a pizza, the school supply shop is a pencil, the music shop is a tuba of sorts, health food shop is broccoli, the defence item shop is a helmet, the gift shop is a gift box, the bakery is a peppercake house, the collectible card shop is a cardhouse, the hot dog shop is a hot dog, and the chocolate factory has chocolate topping.
    • Technically, you only ever get to see the shops on a map of the area, and as the maps aren't drawn to scale there's no reason to assume these aren't just cutesy pictorial images (there are real-world maps taking a similar approach). That said, the maps were drawn well after Neopets had given up their first efforts toward world-building, so they could equally well be representative.
  • In Stampy's Lovely World, the bakery, Stampy's Hot Buns, is shaped like a cake.

    Western Animation 
  • The balcony of the pizzeria from Teen Titans is shaped like a slice of pizza when seen from above. The floor is the cheese and the tables are the pepperoni.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy has quite a few of these such as Taco Bull which is shaped as a taco bull.
  • On the We Bare Bears episode "Cupcake Job", the bears work on a cupcake shop shaped like a cupcake.

    Real Life 
  • The patio walk-up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is shaped like a giant record player. And the round element on stilts (to the left in the referenced photo) is intended to evoke a drum.
  • The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is shaped like a giant wiener.
  • The headquarters of the Longaberger basket company is shaped like a giant basket.
  • Tail o' the Pup in Los Angeles.
  • Here's a music building.
  • There's a fauna museum in Indonesia with a small reptilian zoo, in the shape of a giant komodo dragon.
  • This guitar museum, which used to be a guitar store (and still has a gift shop).
  • Sussex University in the UK, built in the sixties, has a library that looks like an open book and a cinema/arts building that looks like a camera. Only from above, though, so you're not going to notice unless you get to your lectures by helicopter.
  • At a slight stretch, BMW Headquarters in Munich is intended to evoke four cylinders in a car engine, with the fiddly bit on top bearing a passing resemblance to spark plugs and cylinder valves, and the round museum next to it is supposed to look like a cylinder head.
  • The Big Chicken, a real Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant built specifically to look like... well, a big chicken. It's in Marietta, Georgia.
  • The Capitol Records Building in Hollywood looks like a stack of records on a spindle.
  • One wall of the Kansas City Public Library parking garage is designed to look like a shelf of books (with the stairwells as bookends). It's called The Community Bookshelf.
  • As is the right-side wall of a highway exit in Tehran, which leads to the national library.
  • The Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario in Canada. Originally built as a standalone tourist attraction, it was later moved and incorporated into Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences exhibit and permanent exhibition at Sudbury's Science North museum.
  • Twistee Treat ice cream stands all look like giant bowls of ice cream with each location being colored and decorated differently to represent a different "flavor".
  • In the 1990s the Segaworld Carnival, part of the Trocadero Amusement Complex in London, had a McDonald's shaped like a carton of fries.
  • The National Fisheries Development Board in India is headquartered in a large stainless steel fish.
  • Gibeau Orange Julep is a three-story tall Orange that sells its signature recipe orange juice, along with fast food.
  • Mildred O'Neill's Shoe House, one of the buildings at the Museum of Science, Wildlife & History in Webster, South Dakota, is shaped like a gigantic shoe. Inside the two-story building are over 11,000 shoes and related items.
  • The Darkroom in Los Angeles was a camera store. The distinctive storefront is still there as a city landmark, but it's a Mexican restaurant now.
  • The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a government agency that backs mortgage loans and supports housing, has an office tower at its headquarters whose upper portion is shaped like a cliche Suburbia-style house.