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What makes a building iconic?

What makes a building iconic?


Is it a dramatic façade?

A storied history?

A famous architect?

A drove of tourists?


Everyone has a different definition, but one thing is certain: bland, cookie-cutter buildings are pretty much never iconic. They might be infamous if something nefarious happened there, but not iconic.


By some standards, there are only a handful truly iconic buildings in the world: The Empire State Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Sydney Opera House, to name a few. But each city has its own list of iconic buildings. These are spaces that, without them, the city would be lacking part of its story.


There’s a reason neighbors get up in arms (figuratively, usually) when a beloved piece of neighborhood history is poised to be destroyed.


There’s a reason that people fight to get buildings on the National Register of Historic Places for additional recognition and protection.


There’s a reason that tours of historic and iconic properties are such a hit in cities across the country.


People care about buildings with history, with unique qualities, and with elements that give a neighborhood or a city part of its identity.


We know this to be true, because we hear every day from people who value our work identifying, rescuing, and restoring historic properties. Sure, we could probably knock them down and put up cookie-cutter high-rise condos and make a quick buck. But that’s not what we do. We’re passionate about preservation. We’re passionate about not just keeping these stories alive, but also ensuring that new stories can be made in these spaces.


What homes or other buildings in your neighborhood do you consider to be iconic?