This paper examines the use of scientific models of organising and displaying data in Venturi’s, Scott Brown’s and Izenour’s seminal work Learning from Las Vegas. The paper will demonstrate the affiliations between the project of measuring and documenting the architectural signification of Las Vegas and broader cultural, social and political shifts that reoriented intellectual culture in the period. Drawing from the emerging multi-disciplinary practices of critical theory, the paper will demonstrate the scientific aspirations of Learning from Las Vegas as well as the limitations inherent in its pseudo-scientific method. The paper focuses in particular on the relationship between “figure” and “ground” and its broader influence on systems of urban analysis.
Architectural Science Review Vol. 52, Issue 4, p. 245-253