"From the earliest days of the environmental design research field in the 1960s, there has been a continuing research tradition in the area of meaning in architecture. Typically, this type of research has focused on how people interpret variations in the style or formal attributes of architecture--often with comparisons between designers and nondesigners. Such research has yielded important insights concerning: 1) the preferences which various groups of people have for certain types of architecture; and 2) the underlying constructs by which people interpret buildings generally. With the emergence of what has been labelled "the postmodern condition," however, the role of architecture as a cultural artifact is less certain. In this light, research which focuses on the likely interpretations of this or that formal attribute of a building is almost beside the point. The more pertinent question for the research enterprise is: what meaning can architecture have in a culture which is electronic rather than physical, global rather than national, knowledge-based rather than goods-based, and mobile rather than fixed in place? This paper will explore this question in light of three issues critical for the conduct of research on the meaning of architecture. The paper will conclude with specific suggestions for building a research agenda. 1) A New Basis for "User" Group Categories. Within the existing tradition of research on meaning in architecture, much of the work has focused on the differences between various user or interpreter cultures--designers vs. nondesigners, differences among nationalities, or specific explorations of a particular ethnic or class group. With the emergence of a postindustrial culture, a new user group designation may become relatively more significant for research. Specifically, Robert Reich in his new book TheWork of Nations has suggested that in the emerging global economy the major distinction will be between the relatively well-off knowledge-based workers (the "symbolic analysts") and the increasingly less well-off service or production workers. According to his argument, these categories cut across the entire developed world such that the relatively mobile symbolic analysts have far more in common with their counterparts in other countries than with their own countrymen. 2) The Disappearance of "High" Architecture. Much of the previous research on meaning in nonresidential contexts has focused on institutional and/or "significant" architecture. Recent trends, however, call into question the continued viability of architecture which either literally or symbollically linked to a relatively permanent or institional authority. Cooke, in his book Back to the Future has suggested that grand public building as "an expression of authority frozen in new architectural forms" is profoundly linked with the rise of modernism. The postmodern condition, on the other hand, represents a challenge to such central authority and this will likely be reflected in architecture. The Economist has not only suggested that the architect's role will be increasingly diminished but also that major companies will no longer be putting up "permanent" headquarters but will instead build more temporary homes. 3) The Changing Context for Architecture. Although the tradition of research on meaning in architecture typically has not explicitly articulated its basic assumptions about the cultural context in which individual buildings are irerpreted, the vast majority of research seems implicitly to have assumed that the buildings under study represent existing settlement patterns--namely the urban-suburban pattern common to most industrialized countries. Recently, however, a number of commentators have questioned whether settlement patterns based on such factors as proximity to resources, transportation routes, or infrastructure development are relevant in an electronic age. Thus a recent issue of Newsweek asks it cities are obsolete; a writer to the Wall Street Journal ponders whether in-place public works--and therefore cities--are disposable; and Robert Reich suggests that globe-trotting symbolic analysts live in geographically-interchangeable enclaves that have already in effect seceded from their communties."