Programmatic architecture (also called mimetic or novelty architecture) is a text-and-image aficionado’s dream building. The three-dimensional advertisement that most mimetic architecture is constructed for, is laden with text–messages that sell a product or a service.
From giant donuts to car wash ships (one pictured above), the novelty of seeing buildings shaped like familiar objects or products draws attention. This ship car wash stands out among the flat land and low-rise buildings in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Many of these unique giant objects were conjured up in during the 1950s to 1980s as a way to attract business. These buildings along with large roadside neon signs have been referred to as “highway flypaper.”
The Ship Shape Car Wash isn’t the only ship-shaped building in the world. Other ship-shaped buildings offer a similar programmatic experience one has when passing such uniquely designed buildings.
The novel experience of driving a dirty car inside a ship and driving the same car out all shiny and clean offers land-locked Midwesterners a special sea-faring moment of joy.by