I was reading an article about "39 strange habits most architects can relate to" and came across to this phrase but I don't know what it means.

Getting starstruck around buildings.

I know "starstruck" means "very impressed by a famous people." But, what's the relation to buildings?

3 Answers 3


In this case the person is ironically using the phrase "starstruck" which refers to the feeling of adoration you might feel on meeting a celebrity, to describe how they feel when they see famous buildings.

To an architect, who is a person that studies the design of buildings, famous buildings which represent the peak of their craft, are much like celebrities to them.

  • 4
    The full OED have as their first definition Affected or directed by or as though by the stars; dazed, spellbound, enchanted - first citation 1707, which I'm sure predates today's star = celebrity sense. They give that in their second definition Fascinated by famous people, especially those connected with the entertainment industry; overwhelmed or greatly impressed by the presence of a celebrity (first cite 1936). Arguably OP's cited writer primarily intended the first meaning, even though inevitably the second meaning would probably usually be what people understand from the usage. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 19:55
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    Specifically the people who might point at a famous edifice and exclaim, "That's one of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings!" or "That one was designed by Frank Gehry!" There are a lot of "names" in the architecture world, and it's easy to be wowed by celebrity status without considering if you actually like the building.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 20:00



is to become weak-kneed, and/or tongue-tied or have a display of awe about something that is your object of affection, usually a celebrity (thus the "star" portion). In your example, the buildings are the objects of affection since the observing group is architects. This can also happen to non architects in certain situations. For example, it is a well known fact amoung natives that

In New York City, only the tourists look up.

to admire the height of the buildings.


In this context it means exactly what you think it means:

very impressed by a famous people

Note that you don't need to meet a famous person to be starstruck. You can for example be starstruck in the presence of Jimmy Hendrix's guitar. Objects that are intimately related to a famous person can be awe inspiring especially if the object in question is one of the reasons that person is famous.

An architect or an architecture student will usually know who designed the famous building. In some cases, the architect who designed the building may be a "superstar" among architects. So it's not unusual to become starstruck by the famous person who designed the building when one is surrounded by said building.

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