Revisiting Venturi and Brown's Las Vegas


You know the phrase, "less is more." How about "less is a bore"?

For the first, thank modernist architect Mies van der Rohe, whose pared down, minimalist glass-and-steel buildings and rigid rules on form and function ushered in the age of strict modernism.

Then came the reversal from then-Yale architecture professors Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown after they visited Las Vegas in 1968. All the lowbrow commercialism, neon signs and tackiness may be "ugly and ordinary," they dared to suggest, but it's ours and part of our history and culture. So learn from it.

Their 1972 book "Learning from Las Vegas" rocked the architecture world -- and we're still learning from it, according to a new exhibition about the trailblazing profs at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery.