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Learning from Las Vegas - Revised Edition: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form Paperback – June 15, 1977

ISBN-13: 978-0262720069 ISBN-10: 026272006X Edition: revised edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 193 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; revised edition edition (June 15, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026272006X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262720069
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a brilliant document of the times...a work which uses history knowledgeably, skillfully, and creatively: a rarity." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians



"...professionally informed, competitively astute, and perversely brilliant..." The Yale Review



"...these studies are brilliant...the kind of art history and theory that is rarely produced." The New York Times Ada Louis Huxtable

About the Author

Robert Venturi is an award-winning architect and an influential writer, teacher, artist, and designer. His work includes includes the Sainsbury Wing of London's National Galler; renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; dozens of major academic projects; and the groundbreaking Vanna Venturi House.

Denise Scott Brown is a Founding Principal of Venturi, Scott, Brown, and Associates (VBSA) whose work and ideas have influenced generations of architects and planners.

Steven Izenour (1940-2001) was coauthor of Learning from Las Vegas (MIT Press, 1977) and a principal in the Philadelphia firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc (VSBA). His most noted projects at VSBA include Philadelphia's Basco showroom, the George D. Widener Memorial Treehouse at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Camden Children's Garden, and the house he designed for his parents in Stony Creek, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Robert Venturi's study of the Las Vegas signage phenomena and it's impact on "architecture" is brilliant in it's scope. While written almost twenty five years ago, this book gains more and more pertinence as we as a society progress further into a "reality" of symbols, reproductions and representations. These words and thoughts are basically essential to the understanding of any city anymore, not just Las Vegas. Where this book misses the mark though is in the execution, as shown in Venturi's work, of these ideas. The projects put forth seem to pale in comparison to the implications the text actually has. These notions of architecture are by far some of the most relevant and important in modern theory today, it is unfortunate that their full potential could not be realized in these projects.... but maybe that is for you and I to do.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The title "father of Post Modernism" has been appropriately assigned to Robert Venturi....and it began with this book: Learning from Las Vegas. Written at a time when minimalism in art, and "form follows function" in architecture were the dominant ideas, Venturi et al threw down the gauntlet in challenging the practicing and accademic establishment with such sacriligious slogans as "Less is a bore" (challenging the modernist notion "Less is more")
Venturi should open the eyes of readers who self rightiously condemn today's highway commercial architecture and signage. Venturi challenges us to look at this urbanscape with fresh eyes...to see and understand the order (both functional and visual) in what we have been conditioned to condemn.
The book is well illustrated and gives examples of "the duck" and the "decorated shed" as metaphorical strategies to attract attention to highway commericial buildings.Anyone interested in architecture history and contemporary planning issues should read this book. It may piss you off, but it might also open your eyes to new ways of seeing.
In 1999 it would be interesting to compare Las Vegas to Pleasantville...and to learn in the process about change and the American culture that seems to embrace an ever changing urban landscape. Just as in the mythical Pleasantville in the movie of same name, Venturi upsets the status quo and gets us to see the colors (though sometimes messy and glaring) of the REAL city.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By curt dilger on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I admire and respect Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown for their great career and contribution to architecture, which has yet to be fully assessed. The depth of their thinking, the vigilant efforts to achieve their aesthetic vision, their desire to overcome modernist dogma, which had mutated into marginalized elite uncivic abstraction, falsely denying vibrant areas of life...how can one argue with the importance and value of such work?

Let me try.

To me, this book represents one of the most interesting turning points of an architectural career, very similar to Rem Koolhaas' essay on Bigness in S,M,L,XL.

Both texts are attempting to give themselves an elite artist's alibi for co-opting the corporate machinery's unself-conscious production. Here, both artists (VRSB and OMA)attempt to escape into pop art, just like their friend Andy Warhol, thumbing his nose at the self important abstract expressionists.

There's just one problem with this; they are architects, not just artists.
And this places them in significantly different political territory. Architects build in the public sphere, and therefore have a powerful civic impact. They enable some political forces, and, by physical default, suppress others. If they were artists, their voice is a singular one, an unsponsored comment, to be entertained or dismissed. Architecture cannot be waved away.

So, being architects, is 'Learning from Las Vegas' and 'Bigness' an elite artist's manifesto, or a cynical architect's effort to solicit clients from the bloated and most lucrative areas of commerce? The ambiguity is disturbing, because ultimately it has proven out not to matter what their intention.
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36 of 49 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on January 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a quite unusual and offbeat treatise on architectural theory, as applied to the world's greatest architectural monstrosity - Las Vegas. This analysis from the early 1970s is obviously outdated because Las Vegas hadn't yet become the monument to megalomania and excess that it is today, but it was already well on its way. The authors analyze Vegas' unique usages of space, lighting, placement, transportation, and building design for the purposes of communication and promotion. Strange chapter titles give a clue to the left-field analysis in store, and the authors have a clear sense of irony, underhandedly implying that Vegas presents the worst in architecture while they appear to be praising its uniqueness. Unfortunately the narrative gets bogged down in dense professor-speak terminology like "Brazilianoid" and "neo-Constructivist megastructures," along with a general overload of obtuse theory. Add to that the poor-quality and under-elaborated illustrations and you have a book that sacrifices insight and readability in favor of pedantic attempts to impress the authors' colleagues. [~doomsdayer520~]
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