Photo: Ed Fuentes / PaintThisDesert
LEARNING FROM A WALKER: When Alissa Walker wrote about Las Vegas, she channeled architect and writer Denise Scott Brown.
Two major public space storylines from Las Vegas are the Strip, as expected, and Downtown Project, which had a lot of coverage. That included reporting from Los Angeles allies, Alissa Walker and Colin Marshall, who wrote about Las Vegas urban space with objective and practical feet planted on the ground. From Walker's January series at Gizmodo, a visit to the Arts District, a meeting with Tony Hsieh, and other stories led to Evangelical Urbanism: A Review of the Downtown Project's Vegas Revival.
It's something I want to call "evangelical urbanism"—where a particular type of resident is working hard to build a brand-new, very specific urban culture to lure additional, similar residents. The Downtown Project is working hard both to recruit new followers and to convert local nonbelievers. It's exciting, energizing, and, I believe, totally earnest in its goals to make the city a better place for all.
There was the dramatic reference to layoffs as "bloodletting" that created a stir in 2014. That was on the mind of Colin Marshall long form report for The Guardian in November:
In fact, since the supposed “bloodletting”, downtown Las Vegas as a whole has come only more to life: the Downtown Project recently rehabilitated the Oasis motel to its full mid-century glory and then some, and a grocery store has finally arrived in the form of the aptly named The Market, something of a scaled-down Whole Foods. As troubling as observers have found the souring of the Downtown Project’s once-golden relationship with the media, downtown itself still inspires some optimism.
Denise Scott Brown in Las Vegas in 1968 I Photo: Venturi Scott Brown and Associates
Denise Scott Brown Note: "There’s a long shadow hanging over the AIA Gold Medal for 2015. Yesterday, the institute announced that Moshe Safdie is next year’s winner—a surprise for those who were expecting Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown to get the prize. This was the first year Venturi and Scott Brown were jointly eligible because of a change in the rules to allow two architects to win the award together. That change was made in the wake of the movement last year to amend the 1991 Pritzker Prize, which was awarded solely to Venturi and never acknowledged Scott Brown’s role in their body of work." Architectural Record I December 11.
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, along with Steven Izemour, co-authored "Learning From Las Vegas."
Added Note: Since I've been living in Las Vegas since 2011, I'm beginning to refer to myself as a former Angeleno. Yet, I am not really a Las Vegan. It places my residency in no-mans land. I don't know when temporary status ends, so I will seek counsel from locals.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.