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Just like the clothes and accessories we choose to wear define us in subtle ways, buildings can be figured out in the way they are built and decorated.

It all boils down to what is traditionally associated with the structure—say, what does a McDonald’s typically look like, and can you strip it of its branding to see the same iconic elements to still see the McDonaldishness of it?

This is exactly what this online group is all about—identifying and pointing out how buildings aren’t fooling anyone, even if their purpose is very different.

#1

Señior Colonel

Señior Colonel

Dafracturedbutwhole Report

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Jason
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is pretty awesome. Also turning an old plantation owner looking white guy into a Mexican guy is pretty amusing.

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#2

Walgreens That Used To Be A Historic Bank. Chicago, Il

Walgreens That Used To Be A Historic Bank. Chicago, Il

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Mavis
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is nice. I don't know what Walgreens sells, but its nice they have retained the original features of the building.

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So, there’s a subreddit called r/NotFoolingAnybody that serves as Reddit’s dedicated community of building spotters with a twist. The twist being recycled retail buildings that were obviously something different (and often in ways that still allow folks to determine its origins—consider all the McD buildings around as proof).

#4

Pizza Hut Turned Urgent Care

Pizza Hut Turned Urgent Care

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Papa
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's an old Pizza Hut in my town that was turned into a funeral home. The sign is pretty much the only thing they changed.

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#5

This Trader Joe's In Media, Pennsylvania, Used To Be An Armoury For The Pennsylvania National Guard

This Trader Joe's In Media, Pennsylvania, Used To Be An Armoury For The Pennsylvania National Guard

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#6

Former Bank, Now KFC. Owners Call It The Crystal Bucket. (Corning, NY Area)

Former Bank, Now KFC. Owners Call It The Crystal Bucket. (Corning, NY Area)

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The group is home to 33,000 members, spotting oddly familiar buildings on the daily, and the subreddit is ranked in the top 3% of Reddit.

To get sidetracked for a moment, you’d think that buildings are supposed to universally provide shelter and living quarters for people. However, it’s quite interesting to see that there are several reasons why they mostly differ.

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#7

Urban Krag Climbing Center, Dayton Oh

Urban Krag Climbing Center, Dayton Oh

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Paul C.
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sure to upset some, but in my opinion, this is way better than it's previous use. Sorry just me.

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#9

Tim Hortons And Circle K (Toronto, On)

Tim Hortons And Circle K (Toronto, On)

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There’s a concept of site-specific architecture, which essentially means that a building or a structure is of a time and of a place.

It is essentially designed to respond and describe the physical and metaphysical contexts of where it’s at. This can include everything from the specifics of the location to what materials are available to what building codes dictate its characteristics.

#10

Gay Bar In Cedar Rapids Used To Be A McDonald's

Gay Bar In Cedar Rapids Used To Be A McDonald's

BrainGoesPop Report

#11

Big Woody’s (Bethlehem, Pa) Just Rolling With The Former Hollywood Video Signage

Big Woody’s (Bethlehem, Pa) Just Rolling With The Former Hollywood Video Signage

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GlitterPanda
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's an old Hollywood video in my town that kept the signage and is now Hollywood Antiques

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#12

Apple Store In An Old Theatre, Los Angeles

Apple Store In An Old Theatre, Los Angeles

ZMONEY0823 Report

The ultimate reason as to why buildings differ is exactly that—the reason it is being built in the first place.

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Depending on its purpose, buildings can assume appropriately practical shapes and sizes, catering to the specific needs of that particular purpose.

#13

Old Toysrus Is Now The Biggest Liquor Store I’ve Ever Seen! Includes A Bar. Fun For Kids Turned Fun For Adults. (Omaha, Ne)

Old Toysrus Is Now The Biggest Liquor Store I’ve Ever Seen! Includes A Bar. Fun For Kids Turned Fun For Adults. (Omaha, Ne)

mylifeisafairytale Report

#14

This "Starbucks" With Extra Pickup Lanes. So Convenient

This "Starbucks" With Extra Pickup Lanes. So Convenient

probablywhy Report

#15

Sears Store At My Mall Was Turned Into A Fake Mega Church For A TV Show

Sears Store At My Mall Was Turned Into A Fake Mega Church For A TV Show

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Say your building needs to serve a residential purpose. These will be primarily designed around factors like safety and accessibility. They will be built in places that have good pedestrian and vehicular logistics, with various utilities and services readily available, or at the very least easily realizable. That’s also the reason why many residential buildings are often high and space-conscious.

#16

Value Village Looking Slick In A Former Best Buy

Value Village Looking Slick In A Former Best Buy

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JBRyu
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wish i had a value village where I live, super awesome thrift store!!

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#17

So Why Does A Hair Salon Need Three Drive-Through Lanes? (Former Bank)

So Why Does A Hair Salon Need Three Drive-Through Lanes? (Former Bank)

ibrentlam Report

The same can be said about industrial buildings. Depending on the industry and the functions and equipment that they will house, the buildings will be of appropriate size, shape and location. These are often found further away from populated areas, but are also boring to look at—it’s all for practicality and affordability. It’s cheaper that way, but also what if something explodes? That has to be easy to fix, all the while appropriate to contain it.

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#19

Former KFC, Broken Arrow, Ok

Former KFC, Broken Arrow, Ok

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#21

Former Pizza Hut - Now La Piñata Mexican Grill, Childersburg Alabama

Former Pizza Hut - Now La Piñata Mexican Grill, Childersburg Alabama

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David
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Come on down - you can't miss us - just look for the ugliest green roof you've ever seen. / J

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And then we have commercials which, among other things, have a huge focus on purposeful, targeted aesthetic. It has to represent the commerce that is happening there and, considering that the design can change drastically at any point, making it flexible is definitely a bonus.

#22

Pretzelmaker, Now Avis/Budget Rental (North Little Rock, Ar)

Pretzelmaker, Now Avis/Budget Rental (North Little Rock, Ar)

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unfilteredCigarette73
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wonder if there is still a faint scent of pretzels still in the air or if your brain would just trick you into thinking you smelled pretzels baking

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#23

Last Year This Was A Jack In The Box

Last Year This Was A Jack In The Box

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Lauren Wilder
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks better. They are making one near my house to a Dutch brothers coffee shop.

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#24

Former Pizza Hut Now An Asian Vegan Restaurant (Pinellas Park, Fl)

Former Pizza Hut Now An Asian Vegan Restaurant (Pinellas Park, Fl)

CronyKony Report

And, so, sometimes you have very distinct, single-floor buildings with a “cap” for a roof, surrounded in concrete nothingness which served as a parking lot and drive-through before it became an adult entertainment club. Or something. But we all know that there was either a clown or a king dining there on the regular.

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#25

CVS Pharmacy Used To Be A Theatre, East Los Angeles, Ca

CVS Pharmacy Used To Be A Theatre, East Los Angeles, Ca

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#26

Former Arby’s In Norfolk, Virginia

Former Arby’s In Norfolk, Virginia

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#27

Domino's Used To Be A KFC, Albert Lea, Minnesota

Domino's Used To Be A KFC, Albert Lea, Minnesota

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While these are broad categories, there are more niche purposes for buildings that seem like categories of their own.

Consider KWK Promes’ “Safe House”, for instance. While it looks like a bomb shelter, it kinda sorta is as its purpose is to be a zombie bunker.

Or that one fake house in the city of Raleigh in North Carolina that is only a shell of a house, but actually hides the city’s pumping station. The only weird thing about it is that it doesn’t have a driveway or walkway.

#28

Planet Fitness In A Former Circuit City. Phoenix, Az

Planet Fitness In A Former Circuit City. Phoenix, Az

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David
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one seems like a reasonable match. It's been a while since I've been in a circuit city but the front entrance / window setup and the general size seem about right for a gym / exercise equipment.

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#29

Former Bk Converted To Chinese Drive Thru. Didn’t Change A Thing Except Signage

Former Bk Converted To Chinese Drive Thru. Didn’t Change A Thing Except Signage

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#30

"Chick & Burger" In A Former Chick-Fil-A At The Former Virginia Center Commons Mall

"Chick & Burger" In A Former Chick-Fil-A At The Former Virginia Center Commons Mall

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Note: this post originally had 40 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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Anywho, what is your take on any of this? Do you have some examples of corporate architecture that has no chance of fooling anyone on what it really is? Share your examples in the comment section below!

And if you need more, there’s always more.