Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Jacobus, Frank

Committee Member/Reader

Goodstein-Murphree, Ethel

Committee Member/Second Reader

Gay, Windy


This thesis investigates the connection between popular culture’s perception of place and the physical augmentation of reality. Focusing on the top five tourist cities in America, this disparateness is observed through the lens of a souvenir: the snow globe.

The presentation of the work is broken into two parts: the written portion and the book of diagrams. A total of 45 snow globes (9 for each of the 5 cities) were selected for the study, each carefully analyzed for content to include monuments, colors, text, dimensions, realism, and layout. This resulted in a series of diagrams which graphically express the information contained within the globes, as well as matrixes located in the appendices; the diagrams were created as a method to objectify the subject. The monuments depicted in the globes serve to narrow the scope of the study, bringing emphasis to those works of architecture only. The significance of the diagrams is explored in the written portion, associating the findings from the snow globes with the backgrounds of the cities. In addition, the written portion contains vital contextual information gathered from readings in subject areas including architecture, city planning, marketing, and snow globes.

Tourist souvenirs are not designed with the intention of being accurate replications of the city – they are abstracted. However, they are abstracted precisely in a way which allows for the personality of the city to come through. Highlights and themes are selected, and the globes operate within these boundaries. This simplification illustrates what is crucial to defining the place.

Snow globes have been a commonplace souvenir besought by tourists for a hundred years. Their notoriously kitsch craft is hardly considered to be a product of high design; however, snow globes can be employed as a form of diagram that assists architects in understanding the background of the place and how buildings fit into the urban context of the city, as well as the brand image of the city.


snow globes, kitsch, tourism