On the Nightstand, 001: Learning From Las Vegas

Learning from Las Vegas

“When the crossroads becomes a cloverleaf, one must turn right to turn left…”

^When taken out of context this is rather philosophical^

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I’ve got a rather large collection of architecture and design books I’ve gathered over my school years, most of which I haven’t had time to read. So I’ve decided to start. I’ve also decided I’d share what I’ve read on the blog. Just basic impressions, not an actual review.

Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi is a classic architecture book that I believe most people who are interested in modern design have read or at least heard about. The classic reference is the idea of the duck and the decorated shed, which has now become an integral part of most architectural history and theory courses.

Idea-wise, this book is great. Though at times it seems to me like a stretch, the book tries to verify the architectural value of the highly flashy and commerce oriented buildings (like those found in Las Vegas) in a time when modern architecture was rejecting the philosophies behind such constructions. Perhaps the most valuable part of the reading experience is Venturi’s insistance on the alteration of a given architect’s perception of Las Vegas (and hence modern architecture).

In terms of reading, the book is rather entertaining. Though it can be a bit dense, it is full of photographs and illustrations that emphasize Venturi’s ideas. It is also much nicer to the reader compared to the condescending tone of Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture.

Verdict: Put it in your library

(you might want to get Le Corbusier’s book while you are at it)

On the nightstand

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