The Iconic Building : The Power of Enigma, Hardback

The Iconic Building : The Power of Enigma Hardback



A new type of architecture has emerged in the last 10 years: the iconic landmark building.

Driven by social and commercial forces and the demand for instant fame, it has to be both an amazing piece of surreal sculpture and an understated insertion into the urban fabric.

Following in the wake of Frank Gehry's New Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, architects such as Norman Foster, Peter Eisenman, Enric Miralles, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelblau, Daniel Libeskind, Renzo Piano, Will Alsop and Rem Koolhaas have created a series of lively architectural icons that have courted publicity and controversy in equal measure.

Some are successful creations that fulfil their contradictory requirements; others are Malapropistic metaphors that make the public wince.

With a mixture of wit, irreverance and sympathy, leading architecture critic Charles Jencks surveys the recent history of the iconic building and then focuses on ten key examples.

These include Norman Foster's Swiss Re. building in London (known as 'The Gherkin'), Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Daniel Libeskind's project for Ground Zero in New York. Short interviews with some of the major architects are included, and a series of imaginative analytical drawings by Madelon Vriesendorp reveal some of the provocative associations that bring the buildings to life.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192 pages, 200 colour photographs
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Architecture
  • ISBN: 9780711224261



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