"In the past, he said, architectural icons weren't necessarily the most loud, unusual or even best designs.
'It's interesting that good design is not necessarily what makes icons,' Rybczynski said. They were simple structures that evolved to have a powerful public meaning over time. The Empire State Building, for example, was 'a very handsome' high rise, but not the best design of its time, he said.
'What makes icons isn't architects. It's really the public,' Rybczynski said. 'It's really the public deciding on its own, sometimes quickly and sometimes over a long period of time. ... It somehow captures the public's imagination.'"