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BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) IN ARCHITECTURE

THEORIES OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM


(ARC61303/ARC2224)
SYNOPSIS: REACTION PAPER (MARCH 2017)
Name: Tang Wei Xin ID No.: 0322731
Lecturer: Mr. Nicholas Ng Tutorial Time: 1100-1200
Reader/Text Title: Learning from Las Vegas Synopsis No: 1
Author: Robert Venturi, D. S. Brown, Steven Izenour
The text mainly speaks of the modern architects belief in spatial characteristics, to be separated from arts,
and it led to the movement revolution which emphasized on the spatial quality as the unique medium of
architecture rather than the possible level of content fineness of arts could bring to a building. The authors
brought out the arguments of legibility of abstract form in space, declaring a definite iconology that makes
verbal and symbolic connections through space. From my point of view, spatial quality is one to be beheld to
strengthen architecture value but not be the merely medium to communicate the ideas. Both symbol and form
in space should be synthesized and lead to the subtle expression of ideas as the final purpose.
Las Vegas strip is an example of architectural persuasion with implementation of symbols and forms into the
architecture in clarifying the sense of orientation of place with dominance of signs along the strip. The
merchandising techniques discouraging second floors led to the neutral architecture of Vegas strip, buildings
are hardly seen from the road. Symbolic communication in vast spaces at high speeds thus dominates the
strip as they communicate the sense of direction in that landscape, not through the form of architecture. Form
itself in Las Vegas is inadequate to express the spatial relationships and intricate messages. I stand with the
idea to implement symbols in the space as they can enhance the space by containing messages beyond their
ornamental contribution, to illustrate the spatial quality in terms of culture value, views and sense place in
more defined language. It is self-evident that the scale of a building should be as contextual as it embraces
and enhances the site culture, not dominating but mainly be generated by following function and having a rich
idiom of the form.
Studying the relationships between the scale of sign and building, The Long Island Duckling emphasized on
communicating itself represents the sign while decorated shred meant otherwise. From my point of view to
embrace the idea of symbolism should not diluting the value of architecture, symbols to be expressed should
be considered as a potential design element and ultimately resynthesized as one. The idea of having symbol
over form should be more permissive that it does not eliminate the architecture aspects, and have the abilities
to be modified to withstand all kinds of scenario, without bulldozing the culture itself.

Word Count: 400 Mark Grade


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