HomeDo You Know?Whose idea was this to build a building like a basket?

Whose idea was this to build a building like a basket?

This is “Big Basket” built in 1973 and is located at Newark, Ohio’s State Route 16. Even today the building is a local landmark. Though the building has passed several hands now and the original business is no longer carried on here, the building has been able to survive because of its unique design. Do you know who planned structure like this and why?

The Big Basket building was built as the headquarters of the Longaberger Company, an American manufacturer of handcrafted maple wood baskets and other lifestyle products. At its peak in 2000, it had $1 billion in sales, employed more than 8,200 people directly, and had about 45,000 independent distributors (called Home Consultants) selling its products directly to customers.

If architects had their way, the design of the building would have been something different. In fact, architects had initially proposed designs that were merely suggestive of a basket. But founder Dave Longaberger had different ideas and showed the architects one of the products of the company and asked them to design building exactly like that. That’s how Big Basket came into being. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death.

The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building sits on a 21.5 acre lot in eastern Newark. The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. On each side of the top of the building are two gold-leaf-painted ‘Longaberger’ tags measuring 25 x 7 ft.

With the change of fortunes of the business, owners wanted to dispose off the building.  However, it’s mimetic architecture of the building which is proving to be its undoing. Efforts to dispose off the building have turned futile so far but the locals want the building to be preserved, at least as local landmark.

In the coming years it may continue, not as headquarters but may be as a hotel, residential complex or a school.

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