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As stated by Robert Venturi in Learning from Las Vegas (LFLV) : “The sign is more important than the architecture”(Relearning from LV). This reference is crucial in the unraveling of a new type of communication, one that uses the city itself as a medium. The authors of Learning from Las Vegas had chosen to specifically document the Las Vegas Strip for being the archetypal display of the auto-mobilized city, not the prototype of one, but the phenomenon, which was about to set the standard for the future. 
This phenomenon was significant to document, while surprisingly enough, it was sparked by “proles”(destruction of spectacle), or in other words, figures who were not linked to the field of architecture, but who have defined design decisions of architects for decades to come. One of the more peculiar and unorthodox elements which metamorphosed were the billboards and signage as symbols, capable of catching the attention of car commuters who were traveling at an average of 35 mph, as per LFLV’s graphic analysis “Directional Space”(icono graph and) (arc as sign and sys). It additionally shows that the path these travelers are on is an unleveled one, with signs and symbols being the most  effective way of communicating to them, rather than solely relying on the shear size of buildings. 
The efficiency which signs held, trumped the vastness of physical space which once reigned as the prime communication device(relearning). Their extensive documentation and analysis of how they surfaced, adapted, and evolved within the architectural discourse is noteworthy in deciphering their impact through time.  As Venturi and Scott Brown were involved in the uncovering of the power signage and symbols, influences of these elements they learned of resurfaced in their own designs, but this time through the lens of well established architects.
Architecture as sign or communication was not unprecedented, but seen in every period or style of architecture, by successfully engaging distinct historical cultures. (arc as sign and sys) This can even be traced back to Ancient Egyptian architecture, whose monumental structures such as temples and pylons, covered by informative hieroglyphics, reflected and communicated effectively with the citizens at the time. This occurrence did not halt with the Egyptians; Greek and Roman temples were ornamented with sculptures as expressive elements, the mosaics of early Christian churches and Byzantine interiors, up to the art of the Italian Renaissance which bore its own narrative while enveloping the murals of buildings, and the list continues (arc as sign and sys). Fast forwarding to the mid-twentieth century, this exact phenomenon was beginning to brew in the desert of the south west of the United States: Las Vegas. 
The “pop city age” (strip lv and the arc dream) of Las Vegas began in the early 1950’s, where a financial shift that moved away from the mafia’s capital to big corporations, coupled with the start of mass culture and media, jointly developed. The new business model which developed into the expected norm, is credited to bootlegger Tony Cornero, who was approaching profitability in a novel fashion. “Instead of a small casino for high rollers, Cornero built a big casino for low rollers.” (strip lv and the arc dream) This was at a time when America’s middle class was growing, meaning that a bigger flow of people had money to spend, and found Las Vegas as their awaited haven. Not hiring an architect, Cornero relied on engineers to lay out the designs of the hotels and casinos with maximum efficiency, while still making the consumers “feel like a million bucks for only half the price of rooms at other resorts”. All in all, his business model resonated strongly with the formulation of the Strip’s future, which was to “take something that could potentially appeal to the masses, then scale it up, preferably out of proportion.”
The Stardust Resort and Casino by Cornero was the first to begin this “cosmetic architecture” which directly contradicted architectural teachings that favored building forms as means of expression.  The jumbo jet sized Stardust sign, only affected the surface of the building, and was visible from 3 miles away by additionally being singled out at night by 7,100 feet of neon tubing and 11,000 light bulbs. The Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) were in the business of designing movie posters but were nevertheless asked to conceive the iconic face the auto-mobilized nature of the Strip. It was thus Kermit Wayne’s 216 foot long and 37 foot high canvas for The Stardust that was a replacement to the “fancy landscaping, room views, and circular drive”,rendering architect obsolete in the “equation”. Wayne continued to be the “star”designer of the signs, proving with The Stardust “that instead of spending money on sophisticated architecture… all you needed was the right sign”.
The success that this mode attained paved the way for other upcoming and already present buildings, resulting in a rather fierce battle between resorts and casinos on the Strip who were craving to be noticed. Lee Klay, who was part of the Federal Sign and Signal Company at the time, said that this resorted to statements from corporations who asked for, “a big phallic symbol going up in the sky as far as you can make it” (the strip american dream). The theme of bigger, higher, heavily neon lit forms, created a disconnect between them and the building they were representing, rivaling, unifying and even incorporating them directly onto the building. As Tom Wolfe brought this “electrifying architecture” to attention, other prominent figures were beginning to take note of how these signs were being shaped and were shaping the communication of architecture on a city scale. Robert Venturi and Scott Brown were on the forefront of the encapsulating this happening through an architectural and urban perspective.
In LFLV, signs was used in a pluralistic form which could denote “billboards” all the way to “more restricted concepts of symbol”. The development and effectiveness of semiotics and linguistics were at the center stage of their analysis. The book was conveying Las Vegas’ communication system, which relied on signs as symbols as the readable source for passerby’s. 



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