When released some ten weeks ago, the album cover to hearts and minds: a compilation benefiting Madison's Homeless Cooperative newspaper was among the first to iconize an image that will likely become one of Madison's most enduring. The album, which is intended to raise money for a publication largely sold by homeless vendors on State Street, features a cover image of the city's downtown as seen from the southwest corner of State and Johnson streets. The image depicts several elements of the Madison skyline. Two are already-iconic; the ubiquitous Capitol and the vertical sign above the marquee for the Orpheum. The other is western end of the Overture Center, the striking glass flatiron that is the most prominent exterior element of the second phase of the center. It's becoming one of the more photographed images in the city. In this week's Isthmus, Jennifer A. Smith previews the April 23 opening of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA), looking at its interior architecture, the museum's mission, and its first set of exhibitions. Introducing the article by pointing out some of its prominent features, she writes, "Architecture buffs will pick the dramatic, four-story glass prow jutting out at the intersection of State and North Henry streets." Though the building was designed to highlight its contents, Smith reports, it's likely that this wedge will achieve an iconic status of its own. This Glass Flatiron, like it or not, will become on of the city's most-recognized places, due in part to the both distinctive and ubiquitous shape of the prow. Hence the flatiron name, a common moniker given to buildings. This is of course thanks to the Flatiron Building in New York, the 104-year old early skyscraper at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. This birthed a whole series of similar names applied to wedge-shaped buildings in various other cities, a list to which Madison may now be added. Actually, this city is replete with flatiron buildings, owing largely to the eight point compass of streets radiating from Capitol Square. The intersections created by State, King, North and South Hamilton streets, which cross much of the central downtown grid at a 45° angle, have given rise to many flatirons downtown. There is space for nearly 35 of them, in fact, if one counts the number of intersections. There are three other buildings at the same intersection which are flatirons, housing the Noodles and Tutto Pasta restaurants, along with the Triangle Market. There's many more up and down State Street. The relatively-new Dane County Courthouse is a flatiron, as are the Capitol Point condos across the square. On the east corner of the square, the Isthmus offices are housed in a flatiron (the old Capital City Bank), as is the calculatedly-named Flatiron Tavern across King Street. The Glass Flatiron will outshine them all, though, and not only on a bright and sunny day. Due in part to the prevailing walking and driving patterns around the theatrical end of the Overture, the exterior views remain wanting. Yes, the big glass box holding the Overture Hall lobby is pleasant, particularly on a cold winter's day, but the jello mold still largely retains its jello moldiness. The other end of the building is quite picturesque, however. This is clearly was certainly the intention of architect Cesar Pelli and the Overture Foundation. Constructed over the course of September 2004, the Glass Flatiron "will visually resonate with the other historical flatiron buildings that punctuate this intersection in downtown Madison and aesthetically link it to the glass facade of Overture Hall at the opposite end of the complex," as promoted in in an August 31 press release announcing its construction. Indeed, the wedge "is destined to become one of the city's signature images." This is already happening. In addition to the album cover for hearts and minds, the image is popping up online (and off, no doubt) as shutterbugs capture and propagate the flatiron's image. It's already been posted several times in the Isthmus Flickr Group, as viewed from various perspectives here, here and here, for starters. And of course, the head-on perspective of the flatiron is displayed in an announcement about the new home on the MMoCa website. Look for the image to start appearing on postcards and picture books shortly. The Glass Flatiron image is appropriate to a benefit album for the homeless newspaper, which has since been named StreetPulse. Described here (and available for purchase here), the album is an effort to raise money for the paper that is largely written by homeless persons in the city. The publication is subsequently distributed by them as well, mostly along the State Street concourse. Given concerns about the long-term effect Overture will have on everything from land values to street life along the city's central artery, the Glass Flatiron looms large in the consciousness of Madisonians from all walks of life.