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Learning From Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form Paperback – Jun 15 1977


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; revised edition edition (June 15 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026272006X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262720069
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Learning from the existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for an architect. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
First of all, this book is an architectural classic, and is on of those works which must be read for one's self before passing judgement on the content. I find that the content is today more applicable to the suburban condition which pervades the developed world than specifically Las Vegas. I suspect that developer's have learned more from this book than architects.

My biggest issue with this book is not with the content, but the execution. The illustrations are far too small, and often placed many pages away from the actual text which references the illustrations. While I understand the publisher is trying to produce a paperback which is affordable, I believe they have taken too many shortcuts, resulting in a book which is difficult to read.
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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 This analysis from the early 1970s is obviously outdated because Las Vegas hadn't yet become the monument to megalomania and excess that it is today, but it was already well on its way.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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By A Customer on Sept. 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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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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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brad McCormick on July 10 2001
Format: Paperback
Read this book to learn what you shouldn't do as an architect!
This book follows Venturi's "Complexity and Contradiction", where you can learn how cynically to use casement windows in housing for the elderly where the elderly will happily put their plastic flowers in the windows, but *you* secretly know these are not really hormal casement windows, since they are out of scale (like fascist architecture's lack of scale?).
This book will tell you about ducks and decorated sheds, but it will tell you nothing about building spaces which nourish creative human community. Try Louis Kahn (e.g., John Lobell's lovely little book "Between Silence and Light"). My postmodernist teachers at Harvard said Kahn's writings were incomprehensible, which says more about them than about him.
Read Lobell's book and learn why, e.g., a city might deserve to exist. Remember: Only *you* can get beyond postmodernism!
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