Las Vegas Studio Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
Las Vegas Studio.
Images from the Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.
Edited by Hilar Stadler et Martino Stierli.
196 pages, 175 illustrations
Éditions Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich
In 1968, American architects Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour together with students from Yale University made Las Vegas the object of their research. The group spent three weeks in libraries, four days in Los Angeles and ten days in Las Vegas. In 1972, their findings were presented and interpreted in terms of a general architectural theory in the seminal publication Learning from Las Vegas. This study dealt above all with the symbolic dimension of architecture and the question of communication in the contemporary city. With their work, they decisively influenced the way the modern, commercial city was seen and also the direction of urbanistic research projects in both methodology and questions of representation.
Photography and film were important instruments for urban analysis in this «research studio.» They were equally means of argumentation and representation. The original material has since been stored in the archives of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates in Philadelphia. The firm has now opened its archives. The exhibition «Las Vegas Studio» presents the images and films that were taken during the legendary 1968 Las Vegas research, making a selection available to the public for the first time. The visual material provides a spectacular demonstration of how Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour conceptualized the city in the medium of the image.
“Learning From Las Vegas” is arguably one of the most influential texts in theory of architecture of the 20th-century. Since its first publication in 1972 it has been reprinted again and again and translated to many languages. Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s treatise had, and still has, lasting effect and is regarded until the present day as the starting singal of postmodernism in architecture and urban planning. The authors’ thesis and arguments are essentially based on the media of photography and film, on the countless pictures Venturi/Scott Brown and Steven Izenour took during their field research of 1968 in the city of Las Vegas. Despite of this fact all editions but the very first one of 1972 use only small black and white images of poor quality to illustrate the text. “Las Vegas Studio” is the first to present a large selection of these iconic images and film stills in colour, large format and first rate quality. The essays complement the pictures and investigate how Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour used images to contemplate the phenomenon of the modern city, and forge the link to the architectural practice of the past decades.
© Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates Inc., Philadelphia