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This thesis explores iconicity in architecture in respect to phenomenology. Through an analysis of what determines iconicity, I proposed an iconic building based on feeling rather than form.

Through a series of experiments, I found that iconicity of a building does not rely on form alone, but on an enigmatic signifier, or an external and subliminal reference outside itself. For example, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao might reference a mermaid, or a cloud, or a school of fish. So far, all iconic buildings have established an enigmatic signifier through form. My thesis establishes an enigmatic signifier through phenomenology.

Supermodern architecture is one based in phenomenology. Supermodernism embraces the non-image and represents a shift from place to space.  In his text, Non-Place: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Mark Auge illustrates the notion that buildings no longer obtain significance through communication, but rather through human experience and affect.

The supermodern icon I designed references a space outside itself: light reflecting on water. The enigmatic signifier of this architecture aims to relate the feeling of a situation, fishing in a glittering lake, or surfing in the ocean at sunset.

This is a condensed version of my Master’s Thesis. To order a copy of my entire Thesis, please contact me.