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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Amazing Photos, Interesting Idea: Flâneurs in Automobiles* | Venturi and Scott Brown on the Road « dpr-barcelona


"Baudelaire‘s meaning of flâneur was that of “a person who walks the city in order to experience it”. But with the automobile industry suffering big changes in the USA in the decade of the 60s, while the European makers adopted ever-higher technology, and Japan appeared as a serious car-producing nation, American architects Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, with students from Yale University, embarked in 1968 on a groundbreaking investigation of the Las Vegas Strip… as flâneurs but in automobiles.

Now, almost forty years after that experience, it’s time to re-think about what we’ve learned of this psychogeographic trip. At those years, architects had a fresh way of understanding the cities. They were looking at the influence of popular culture, advertising, film and the experience of the built environment. From a moving automobile, they extended the categories of the ordinary, the ugly, and the social into architecture. About this project, we can read at Venturi & Scott Brown website:

Learning from Las Vegas created a healthy controversy on its appearance in 1972, calling for architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of “common” people and the commercial vernacular and less immodest in their erections of “heroic,” self-aggrandizing monuments. This revision includes the full texts of Part I of the original, on the Las Vegas Strip, and Part II, “Ugly and Ordinary Architecture, or the Decorated Shed,” a generalization from the findings of the first part on symbolism in architecture and the iconography of urban sprawl...."


"In Flâneurs in Automobiles, a conversation between Peter Fischli, Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist; Fischli talks about his own experience:

In the early 1980s. In 1982, I guess. I bought a car in New York and drove across America for four months. It’s a completely astonishing experience when you drive for three days through the desert and then come to Las Vegas. You see this “thing” in the middle of just dry stones and nothing. And when you arrive there, it starts with one sign, then two signs, and more and more … . So that big empty space around Las Vegas was always something important to me. The “fata morgana” moment. It wasn’t the Las Vegas as we know it today, of course...."

read the full post with the gorgeous images:

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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