Architecture today is obsessed with icons. To be iconic or not to be, that is the question for more and more architects. But as we get accustomed of seeing our weekly starchitect masterpiece announced for Astana, Dubai or Taipeh, we wonder whether the contemporary architectural spectacle has a mission that goes beyond celebrating the egos of the client and the architect – what about program, place, politics? If it is true that the icon building is an inevitable condition for the possibility of architecture today – because it is seen as architecture’s unique selling proposition in our neoliberal economy – couldn’t architecture define a more active stance toward the icon, appropriating it rather than succumbing to it? While the icon so far mainly serves as a propaganda tool to affirm the self-image of power-hungry corporations and political dictatorships, it could in fact be cast as generator of social space – a performative environment of a democratic society, rather than a dubious monument of control. For this, however, it will be necessary for architects to apply the iconic no longer to the object, but to space. Public space, for a change.