Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown published "Learning from Lsa Vegas" in the 1960s. The book was a treatise on symbolism in architecture. Las Vegas is analyzed as a phenomenon of architectural communication. The ‘Strip’ is architecture of communication over space, achieved through style and signs. Las Vegas achieves victory of symbolism-space over forms-in-space. The main argument is that spatial relationships are created through symbols rather than forms.
But much has changed in Las Vegas since then. Now, we must ask the question, when designing for Las Vegas, how do we create a urban design scheme that resembles this "new Las Vegas" style?
To investigate this question I first had to research what it this new Las Vegas was. Rem Koolhaas, in his book "Content" interviews DSB and Robert Venturi about the Las Vegas of the 21st century. They describe several evolution's, listing in the following presentation, that have occurred in Las Vegas. They also mention their recent article, "Las Vegas After Its Classical Age," which I have had trouble finding.
The New Las Vegas
The new Las Vegas of today resembles some of the same characteristics of DisneyLand.
“Here is a vivid urban complex that is beginning to embrace symbolic content by combining surface and form, graphic signage, and sculptural symbolism—both the “decorated shed” and the “duck” (i.e., the loft whose surfaces are ornamented with signs, and the building as sculptural symbol.)” —“The urban complex that is a city rather than a resort—a vivid multifaceted place that pragmatically juxtaposes decorated sheds and ducks through signage and sculpture, civic and commercial content—all in the service of enhanced communication, the vital community-building tool of our multicultural era. This is what the Las Vegases and Pop Century Resorts are leading up to and what the Tokyo of today has essentially achieved.”
For this urban design project, I embraced this idea and attempted to represent it in my design scheme.
Several projects are already underway or completed that embrace this "New Las Vegas" idea; such project as Libeskinds "CityCenter," which was completed in 2010.
“CityCenter is a 21st century experience and a celebration of public urban life with retail, entertainment and the feel of an urban neighborhood. Crystals transforms the conventions of shopping and dining with a landscape of sophisticated and contemporary spaces enlivening The Strip and making CityCenter an international destination.”
– Daniel Libeskind
Brandon E. Young