Iconic daylight and views create transformative experiences, specifically intended to communicate cultural ideas across generations. Iconic daylight, a quality of otherworldly light that defies the default assumptions of our brains, can be found in both natural moments and designed environments. The exceptional quality of light in Yosemite is similar in many ways to that of Venice, or the tunnels of sacred Tori at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, Japan. Exceptional directionality, color, and diffusion of daylight are often used to convey religious experience, from the ancient Roman Pantheon to European Cathedrals to the modern chapels of Saarinen and Wright. The discovery of daylight in First Nation origin myths is personified in the design of an anthropology museum in Canada by Erickson.

Views of landscapes, monuments, and even common structures have been revered and preserved as part of the cultural heritage of a people. This may be most evident in memorials and cemetery design, where there is an explicit desire to communicate visually across time. Asian gardens have long been designed as a visualization of philosophic concepts, while views of historical cities, such as Edinburgh, create an intimacy of shared experience across time. Common urban landmarks can become emblematic of a place over time, increasingly referenced in art and literature, until they become treasured icons of the city.