What use is an architectural icon?

Icons and Myths (Theme – Architecture as cultural icon. What use is an architectural icon?) What makes Iconic Architecture? Many places on earth are identified with so-called iconic architecture. The ‘Gherkin’ in London, The Eiffel Tower in Paris the Bilbao Guggenheim, The Sydney Opera House, Ground Zero Memorial and Museum in New York and (perhaps) – the Perth Bell Tower (LOL). These are signature places – so embedded in the psyche that their image conjures up their setting and location even if we have never visited. Some places become icons through accident – others are deliberately designed to be ‘iconic’. Architects such as Miles Glendinning argue against the excesses of signature and trademark architecture as “spectacularisation”. Central Question What are the characteristics of an iconic building and why are they ‘iconic’. Discuss some Australian and Perth examples of “iconic” architecture arguing for or against the idea of ‘showing-off’ in architecture. Key Places Perth Arena Swan Bell tower Other places agreed by your tutor. Suggested Readings. Architecture’s Evil Empire?: The Triumph and Tragedy of Global Modernism. Glendinning, Miles London : Reaktion Books 2010. (in Library Reserve 724.7 GLE) Jones, Paul. (2011) The Sociology of Architecture: Constructing Identities. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press – Chapter 6, “Iconic Architecture and Regeneration: The form is the function”. (available online through Robertson Library) (other chapters may also be of interest)

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