brian carroll on Sat, 21 Aug 1999 14:17:55 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ae fragments/venturi et al

  (remastered- sent to nettime as foundation for Internet criticism,
 that is, understanding the nature of the power/media network which
 supports forums of discourse, in relation to architecture...bc)
| working on 'the architecture of electricity' (ae) thesis to be
| finished near 2000 Common Era. just finished writing this piece
| today, which i propose is an archaeo-architectural (mis-)
| reading of the architectural text by Robert Venturi, Denise
| Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas,
| Revised Edition. the upper-case letters on the website
| will be of a smaller font size than the lowercase letters, and
| these words will be hyperlinked to their definitions, as will
| the numbered footnotes with the bibliographic information. of
| the concepts in this piece, most all have been established in the
| the thesis prior to this text (this is at the end of the thesis).
| thus, a concept like the E-INFRASTRUCTURE has a whole section
| detailing how electricity is produced and consumed, and that in
| turn has another section about what ELECTRICITY is, etcetera.
| feedback is welcome. bc
 a r c h i t e x t u r e z : an online community for hacking |
 and cracking the architectural code - |

 V E N T U R I   E T   A L

"Viva an electronic aesthetic..." (160.5)

In 1972 the educators Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven
Izenour published Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of
Architectural Form. The book is split into two parts. Part I is an
ARCHITECTURAL exploration and analysis of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United
States. Part II is a general treatise on symbolism in ARCHITECTURE.

What is unique and ironic about this work is that, like the previous
Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, the ELECTRICAL ORDER is not
excluded from the photographs used in the book. In fact, there are at least
45 images showing the basic ARCHITECTURAL ORDER of ELECTRICAL elements,
such as DISTRIBUTION POLEs, TRANSMISSION TOWERs, and streetlights. (161n)
Even the book's cover photo is of a streetlight. And it may not
coincidental that the book's opens with a photograph of the Las Vegas Strip
which is almost identical to the image of an electrified "typical main
street" pondered at the end of Complexity and Contradiction. (162n)

In any case, we offer a recontextualized interpretation of the text with
reference to the ELECTRICAL ORDER.

Part I, "A Significance for A&P Parking Lots, or Learning from Las Vegas,"
begins with the authors describing how ARCHITECTs learn by looking at

"Learning from the existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for
an architect... There is a perversity in the learning process: We look
backward at history and tradition to go forward; we can also look downward
to go upward. And with-holding judgement may be used as a tool to make
later judgement more sensitive. This is a way of learning from everything."

And yes indeed, if we can "suspend disbelief" for long enough to consider
the ordinary ELECTRICAL elements in our existing landscape as an
ARCHITECTURAL ORDER, we can bring both revolution and evolution to the
ARCHITECTURE of our day by changing our perception of it.

The authors begin by declaring that an "architecture of styles and signs is
antispatial" and that "it is an architecture of communication over space;
communication dominates space as an element in the architecture and in the
landscape (Figs. 1-6). But it is for a new scale of landscape." (164)

Ironically five of the six figures referenced include images of ELECTRICAL
streetlights, traffic lights, TELEPHONE LINEs, POWERLINEs, and ELECTRICAL
signage. It is in this broader sense that an ARCHITECTURE of communication
exists by way of the ELECTRICAL ORDER. The ELECTRICAL LIGHT, for instance,
turns night into day, stops, starts, and yields automobiles, and advertises
commercial products, including buildings.

Specifically, the authors state that ARCHITECTURAL signs, "through their
sculptural forms or pictorial silhouettes, their particular positions in
space, their inflected shapes, and their graphic meanings,.. identify and
unify the megatexture. They make verbal and symbolic connections through
space, communicating a complexity of meanings through hundreds of
associations in few seconds from far away. Symbol dominates space.
Architecture is not enough. Because the spatial relationships are made by
symbols more than by forms, architecture in this landscape becomes symbol
in space rather than form in space." (165n)

Likewise, by considering ELECTRICAL elements as symbolic ARCHITECTURAL
signs of communication, we can imagine the common ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION
POLE as a symbol of CYBERSPACE, with "hundreds of associations" of
LINEs, and COMPUTER NETWORKs it supports.

The authors say this is an impure ARCHITECTURE of communication, and that,
"[i]f you take the signs away, there is no place." (167)

Correctly, if you take the ELECTRICAL signs, and thus ELECTRICITY, out of
Las Vegas, there is no longer a Las Vegas: it would immediately cease to
exist in the speed of light "present" and instead would lose its vital
connection to the local or global ELECTRICAL WORLD and EPOCH by no longer
having TELEVISION, RADIO, TELEPHONE, COMPUTER, slot machines, nor

The authors reference this very same ELECTRICAL ORDER when mapping the
"atmospheric qualities" of the Las Vegas Strip. Evaluating the Strip based
upon ELECTRICAL "watts", they proceed to map the varying levels of
illumination made by ELECTRICAL signs, casinos, and streetlighting. (169n)

In absolute irony, in an analysis of the "System and Order on the Strip,"
the authors refer to a photograph of the Strip with the caption: "The order
in this landscape is not obvious." (170n) The photograph (#34) has an
absolute order of rhythmically marching ELECTRICAL streetlights receding
into the focal center and vanishing point of the picture. The ELECTRICAL
ORDER could not be more obvious. And, ironically, the next photograph (#35)
is also of more ELECTRICAL streetlights, with the ambiguous caption:
"Streetlights, upper Strip." (171n)
The ELECTRICAL ORDER is apparent, and the authors continue with an admission:

"The streetlights function superfluously along many parts of the Strip that
are incidentally but abundantly lit by signs, but their consistency of form
and position and their arching shapes begin to identify by day a continuous
space... and the constant rhythm contrasts effectively with the uneven
rhythms of the signs behind." (172n)

Indeed, they go on to say, "[t]his counterpoint reinforces the contrast
between two types of order on the Strip: the obvious visual order of street
elements and the difficult visual order of buildings and signs." (173)

As the "street elements" the authors refer to are ELECTRICAL, this
statement can be interpreted to mean that the TRADITIONAL ORDER of
buildings and ARCHITECTURAL signage are juxtaposed with the new ELECTRICAL
ORDER represented by streetlights, POLEs, and TOWERs. ( 174n)

The role of ELECTRICITY in changing the nature of the Strip is mentioned,
including a building facade made of "600 feet of computer-programmed
animated neon." ( 175) ELECTRIC LIGHTING and air-conditioning are
acknowledged for their role in creating an oasis in the desert. (176) And
the requirements of cost-effective air-conditioning is considered a
determinant of the big-low forms of the buildings found on the Strip. (177)

These ELECTRICAL elements include the famous casino "signs" of Las Vegas,
including those which "use mixed media - words, pictures, and sculpture -
to persuade and inform" and which are designed "...contradictorily, for day
and night. The same sign works as a polychrome sculpture in the sun and as
black silhouette against the sun; at night it is a source of light. It
revolves by day and becomes a play of lights at night (Figs. 64-67)." (178)

Like streetlights, these ARCHITECTURAL signs are non-ELECTRICAL and are an
integral part of TRADITIONAL ORDER of ARCHITECTURE during the day, and only
become the new "multimedia" ELECTRICAL ORDER during the night. (179n) The
descendents of these prototypical ELECTRICAL signs can be found in "typical
main street" ARCHITECTURE around the EARTH, most widely seen in fast-food
restaurants and gas station signage.

The authors next state that "[a]llusion and comment, on the past or present
or on our great commonplaces or old clichés, and inclusion of the everyday
in the environment, sacred and profane - these are what are lacking in
present-day... architecture." (180)

By focusing upon commonplace ELECTRICAL elements, the authors allude to an
everyday BUILT ENVIRONMENT. By incorporating this ELECTRICAL ORDER into our
ARCHITECTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS, we can begin to "see" the ELECTRICAL "sign" in
the daytime, such as with an ELECTRICAL streetlight, and begin to "reflect"
upon this symbolic source of our ELECTRICAL ENLIGHTENMENT, so to speak.
This critical commentary of the mundane will help us design an ARCHITECTURE

In the "Studio Notes" section at the end of Part I there is again a
reinforcement of "a structural order of common elements" defined by
ELECTRICAL streetlighting. (181) Also, the authors' statements about Las
Vegas suggest the ELECTRICAL ORDER is the new rationale for our present
experience of ELECTRONIC SPACE and TIME:

"Although its buildings suggest a number of historical styles, its urban
spaces owe nothing to historical space. Las Vegas space is neither
contained and enclosed like medieval space nor classically balanced and
proportioned like Renaissance space nor swept up in a rhythmically ordered
movement like Baroque space, nor does it flow like Modern space around
freestanding urban space makers.

"It is something else again. But what? Not chaos, but a new spatial
order... Las Vegas space is so different from the docile spaces for which
our analytical and conceptual tools were evolved that we need new concepts
and theories to handle it." (182)

TIME, SPACE, and place. Comparing it with the TRADITIONAL ORDER of
Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, or Modern ARCHITECTURE is not
easy, because it is of a different paradigm of ARCHITECTURAL ORDER,

The authors suggest that a new way of understanding the BUILT ENVIRONMENT
is needed. To do so, they say, we need to describe and then analyze the
city as it is, so as "to evolve new theories and concepts of form more
suited to twentieth-century realities and therefore more useful as
conceptual tools in design and planning." (183)

Certainly, if we are to exist within the oncoming REALITY of the 21st
century, then we will need to rationalize the ELECTRICAL ORDER in relation
to our everyday TRADITIONAL ORDER through the interpretive design of an

Recognizing this ELECTRICAL ORDER could also fulfill the need for revealing
an ARCHITECTURE OF ELECTRICITY of our EPOCH that represents the WORLD we
live within, whose ARCHITECTURAL ORDER students could help to investigate,
as the authors state:

"In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries an integral part of an
architect's education consisted of sketching Roman ruins. If the
eighteenth-century architect discovered [his|her] design gestalt by means
of the Grand Tour and a sketch pad, we as twentieth-century architects will
have to find our own "sketch pad"..." (185n)

Thus, today, by "sketching" the ELECTRICAL POLEs, TOWERs, and POWERPLANTs
we can begin to acknowledge the ELECTRICAL ORDER as the source of our
we can begin to define and design an ARCHITECTURE OF ELECTRICITY in
relation to the ARCHITECTURAL past.

Part II of Learning from Las Vegas, entitled "Ugly and Ordinary
Architecture, or the Decorated Shed," is a general treatise on symbolism in
ARCHITECTURE. Here the authors state that "[w]e... emphasize image - image
over process or form - in asserting that architecture depends in its
perception and creation on past experience and emotional association and
that these symbolic and representational elements may often be
contradictory to the form, structure, and program with which they combine
in the same building." (186) They then delineate two contradictory building
types; one in which a building is a symbol, "a duck," and another in which
a building applies symbols, "a decorated shed." (187n) They go on to "argue
for the symbolism of the ugly and ordinary in architecture and for the
particular significance of the decorated shed... for architecture as
shelter with symbols on it." (188)

We propose that these "applied symbols" on the conventional decorated shed
include ELECTRICAL LIGHTs, METERs, switches, wiring, ANTENNAE, and
satellite dishes of the ELECTRICAL ORDER. The authors reinforce this idea
of an ELECTRICAL symbolism with photographs of the Guild House building,
where an "ugly" symmetrical gold anodized aluminum TELEVISION ANTENNA is
"not hidden... in the accepted fashion" but is placed prominently above the
buildings entrance. (189n) The authors then state that our ARCHITECTURE has
yet to incorporate the symbolism of ELECTRONIC, and thus, ELECTRICAL

Indeed the new ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY has changed our perception of
ARCHITECTURE, as the authors state of the role of ELECTRICAL LIGHT in
nighttime Las Vegas:
"The Las Vegas Strip at night... is symbolic images in dark, amorphous
space... it glitters rather than glows... Any sense of enclosure or
direction comes from lighted signs rather than forms reflected in light.
The source of the light in the Strip is direct; the signs themselves are
the source. They do not reflect light from external, sometimes hidden,
sources... The mechanical movement of neon lights is quicker than mosaic
glitter, which depends on the passage of the sun and the pace of the
observer; and the intensity of the light on the Strip as well as the tempo
of its movement is greater to accommodate the greater space, the greater
speeds, and greater impacts that our technology permits and our
sensibilities respond to." (191)

This new ARCHITECTURE OF ELECTRICITY is no longer only those "masses and
forms seen in the reflected light of the sun" but of a projected ELECTRICAL
LIGHT symbolically representing ELECTRONIC SPACE and TIME. (192)

The authors write that "traditional" ARCHITECTURE has yet to deal with this
new "symbolic space" as "...the space of urban sprawl is not enclosed and
directed as in traditional cities. Rather it is open and indeterminate,
identified by points in space and patterns on the ground; these are
two-dimensional or sculptural symbols in space rather than buildings in
space..." where the SPACE is "...defined and directed by utility poles" and
their patterns. (193n) For instance, to understand CYBERSPACE we need to
understand the symbolism of the ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION POLE as a
structural representation of this new speed of light ARCHITECTURAL ORDER.
By ignoring this ELECTRICAL symbolism, it is observed, "chaos" is
perceived. (194n) This is because the symbolic image of the ELECTRICAL
ORDER " both too familiar and too different" from the ARCHITECTURE we
"have been trained to accept." (195)

The concern of ARCHITECTURE in the present, the authors write, "...should
belong not with what ought to be" in the form of ARCHITECTURAL utopias,
"but with what is - and with how to help improve it now." (196) One
approach to doing this, they suggest, is by using conventional elements,
ugly and ordinary: "[s]uch elements may be carefully chosen or thoughtfully
adapted from existing existing vocabularies or standard catalogs..." which
symbolically and functionally promote an "architecture of meaning." (197)

This approach could include ordinary ELECTRICAL elements which could help
rationalize the "chaos" of the BUILT ENVIRONMENT by improving our "sight"
of the new ELECTRICAL ORDER by "adjusting the scale or context of familiar
and conventional elements to produce unusual meanings." (198) The result
could produce "...unusual juxtapositions of everyday objects in tense and
vivid plays between old and new associations to flout the everyday
interdependence of context and meaning, giving us a new interpretation of
twentieth-century cultural artifacts. The familiar that is a little bit off
has a strange and revealing power." (199)

So too can the everyday ARCHITECTURAL elements of the ELECTRICAL ORDER be
juxtaposed with the TRADITIONAL ORDER so as to reveal a "new"
interpretation of our ELECTRICAL CIVILIZATION and our relation with past
Unfortunately, as the authors state, this ELECTRICAL iconography is often
ignored by architects, critics, educators, theorists, and architectural
historians "...through selective viewing of buildings or through contrived
cropping of photographs." (200)

This censorship of symbolic ELECTRICAL elements from the ARCHITECTURAL
image is quite common, and often photographs in ARCHITECTURAL "history"
books will be published sans ELECTRICAL POLEs, TOWERs, POWERLINEs,
ANTENNAs, and PLUGs. The authors thus acknowledge the need to seek the
inclusion of these conventional ELECTRICAL elements into the "difficult
whole" of ARCHITECTURE.. An axiomatic question to ask is whether this issue
of "total design" unveils itself as a system of "total control"? (201n)

The authors, foreshadowing an answer, declare:

"The relevant revolution today is the current electronic one.
Architecturally, the symbol systems that electronics purveys so well are
more important than its engineering content. The most urgent technological
problem facing us is the humane meshing of advanced scientific and
technical systems with our imperfect and exploited human systems, a problem
worthy of the best attention of architecture's scientific ideologues and
visionaries." (202n)

In fact, it is the evolution of ELECTRICITY that is the foundation of
today's ELECTRONIC revolution. By recognizing this ELECTRICAL ORDER in
symbolic ELECTRICAL elements we can make "visible" an ARCHITECTURE OF
ELECTRICITY harmoniously unifying ourselves anew with the TRADITIONAL
ORDER. (203n)

The need to understand our current "vernacular" of ordinary ARCHITECTURE
and its symbolism and style is stated by the authors. (204n) They write
that ARCHITECTs have an aversion to the conventional BUILT ENVIRONMENT
around us and that, although they understand the symbolism around them,
they "do not like it, nor are they prepared to suspend judgement on it in
order to learn and, by learning, to make subsequent judgement more
sensitive." (205n) Ultimately, "[t]he content of the symbols .. is so
distasteful to architects that they are unable to investigate openmindedly
the basis for the symbolism or to analyze the forms... for their functional
use" - even though "[t]hey recognize the symbolism,.. they do not accept
it." (206n )

Unfortunately, the symbolic ELECTRICAL elements of our ELECTRICAL
INFRASTRUCTURE of POWER, MEDIA, and TECHNOLOGY are wholly ignored by the
profession of ARCHITECTURE, and are held in disdain as profanities in the
BUILT ENVIRONMENT. But it is only by understanding this ELECTRICAL
vernacular of the ELECTRICAL STYLE that we can understand speed of light
places like CYBERSPACE.

Wittingly, the authors then remark about conventional iconography on the
houses and lawns of suburbia:

"...the boldness of the suburban doodads distracts the eye from the
telephone poles that even the silent majority does not like." (207n)

Ironically these "telephone poles" (otherwise known as DISTRIBUTION POLEs)
are symbolic of our new ELECTRICAL ORDER which "traditionalists" do not
seem to like. (208n) It is a conventional ARCHITECTURAL element throughout
the world: from Africa to Asia, South America to Europe, even in
Antarctica, the ELECTRICAL STYLE is much the same. Seeing these ELECTRICAL
POLEs is symbolic of "seeing" the literal structure of our new ELECTRICAL
WORLD and EPOCH. They are not simply "visual pollution" for they are the
foundation of our ELECTRICAL past, present and future. The authors then ask
a critical question:

		"If it is all bad, why is it so inspiring?" (209)

The authors call for a "reorientation" towards an ordinary ARCHITECTURE
where ".. the greatest architectural imagination is required..." and from
where "[s]ources for modest buildings and images with social purpose will
come... from the everyday city around us, of modest buildings and modest
spaces with symbolic appendages." (210) We propose that this new
perspective will come with "seeing" ELECTRICAL ARTIFACTs as CHARGED symbols
The authors continue that we should "find formal languages suited to our
times." (211) Similarly we should utilize the ARCHITECTURAL language of the

In addition the authors state that "[t]hese languages will incorporate
symbolism and rhetorical applique." (212) Certainly, the symbolism inherent
in conventional ELECTRICAL elements can be used rhetorically for
self-refection and to raise our CONSCIOUSNESS of the experiential
ELECTRONIC SPACE, TIME, and place we now inhabit.

In climax Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour proclaim: "[r]evolutionary eras
are given to didactic symbolism and to the propagandistic use of
architecture to promote revolutionary aims." (213n) Indeed, the revolution
and evolution needed within ARCHITECTURE, between the TRADITIONAL ORDER and
which can bridge 'the gap' between the REALITY of the past and future.

Again, the conventional ELECTRICAL elements in our everyday BUILT
ENVIRONMENT hold an potential for a critical dialogue with the future which
we can create. By utilizing the new ELECTRICAL ORDER we can "build" a new
ELECTROMAGNETIC ARCHITECTURE which can sustain a multivalued community,
online and offline, from the ground-up.

Learning from Las Vegas ends with words that the authors believe deserves
new reflection:

"It is now time to reevaluate the once-horrifying statement of John Ruskin
that architecture is the decoration of construction, but we should append
the warning of Pugin: It is all right to decorate construction but never
construct decoration." (216)

If we are to "learn from Las Vegas" we need to recognize the ARCHITECTURAL
ORDER of ELECTRICITY within the everyday "ugly, ordinary, and conventional"
ELECTRICAL elements that exist in our BUILT ENVIRONMENT.

These ELECTRICAL elements are unique in that they literally and
rhetorically symbolize the ELECTRICAL INFRA-STRUCTURE of POWER, MEDIA, and
TECHNOLOGY which delivers our new experience of ELECTRONIC SPACE, TIME and

In a sense, these ELECTRICAL elements are already "decorated" with meaning
and form a vernacular design language, an ELECTRICAL STYLE. For example,
the common wooden DISTRIBUTION POLE can be found all over the EARTH, and
everywhere symbolizes our the new ELECTRICAL ORDER of our EPOCH, WORLD, and
We now need to "construct" an ARCHITECTURE OF ELECTRICITY which can unify
the new ELECTRICAL ORDER with that of TRADITION. We can then begin to
design and build an ELECTROMAGNETIC ARCHITECTURE, online and offline, for
our local and global communities.

The key issue inherent in this task of relating the ARCHITECTURAL past with
the ELECTRICAL CIVILIZATION of the future is contained within the words of
Eugene-Emmanual Viollet-Le Duc:

		Architecture. s.f.- the art of construction.

When considering the architecture characteristic of the beginning of one
civilization succeeding another civilization, we must take into account
existing traditions on the one hand, as well as new needs that have arisen
on the other. (217n)


Iconography and Electronics upon a Generic Architecture : A View From The
Drafting Room, Robert Venturi, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, c.1996,
(160.5) p.15,
Learning From Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism Of Architectural Form, by
Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, The MIT Press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, c.1972, 1977, tenth printing 1989, paperback
edition. (161n) in Part I see photographs #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13,
14, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 45, 46, 52, 54, 59, 61, 63, 64-67. In Part II see
photographs #73, 74, 77, 78, 83, 89, 96, 99, 106, 109, 110, 111, 116, 117,
120, 134, 138, 140, 144. (162n) p.4, see the photograph on p.105 in the
book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Venturi. (163) p.3,
(164) p.8, (165n) p.13, the authors specifically refer to "highway signs"
but we seek to enlarge this thesis to include all architectural signs,
including electrical elements in defining the difficult whole. (167) p.18,
(169n) p.19, see figure #23, p.27, (170n) p.20, picture #34, (171n) p.37,
picture #35, (172n) p.20, this text specifically regards photograph #35,
(173) p.20, (174n) p.20, Here we state that "the vulgar" buildings and
signs of Las Vegas are a part of the traditional architecture of buildings
and signs, as the authors describe them in their study. In contrast to this
view, the "electricity" of the sign is attributed to the "new electrical
order" not that of traditional order, and thus causes a paradox within the
reading of the original text, but which should be reasoned outside the
original text for a cleaner and simpler proof. Also, the authors relate the
"streetlights" to "the highway" saying that "The zone of the highway is a
shared order. The zone off the highway is an individual order. (Fig. 36)
The elements of the highway are civic." We someday hope to explore this
relationship between the electrical order and the highway in another thesis
on transportation and architecture. (bc) (175) p.34, (176) p.49, (177)
pp.49-50, (178) p.52, (179n) Some electrical elements, such as electrical
distribution poles, can only be considered as sculpture during the day and
night, and not outwardly "electrical" other than symbolically, or as a
sublime "signifier" of meaning, yet not literally "an electrical sign" like
those of Las Vegas, or main street. (180) p.53, (181) p.74, students Daniel
Scully and Peter Schmitt, (182) p.75, (183) p.75, (184n) the new electrical
realities includes the electronic space and time as it is revealed within
the electrical light, telephone, radio, television, and computer, and its
possible "genius-loci." (185n) p.83, the authors suggest sketching the
order of Las Vegas, but we interpret this to mean sketching the
architectural order of the "typical main street." (186) p.87, Some
Definitions Using the Comparative Method, (187n) p.87, "Where the
architectural systems of space, structure,and program are submerged and
distorted by an overall symbolic form.. this kind of
building-becoming-sculpture we call the ~duck~." "Where the systems of
space and structure are directly at the service of program, and ornament is
applied independently of them.. this we call the ~decorated~shed~."(188)
p.90, (189n) p.93, pp.90-103, pictures #78, 83, Designed by Venturi and
Rauch, Cope and Lippincott, Associates, 1960-63, (190n) pp..114-115, this
statement references Mies van der Rohe and Sigfried Giedion, and states
that "modern" architecture dealt with "modern" technology and its space and
symbolism, but not with "electronic" (thus electrical) space and its
symbolism. This is a critical statement with regard to the fact that the
present architectural discourse has yet to deal with the symbolism nor the
new space and time of our electrical world, epoch, infrastructure, nor
order. (191) p.116, (192) p.116, (193n) p.117, this quotation has been
edited to soley emphasize the symbolism of electrical elements, but is more
generally referring to signs and symbols found in the non-electrical
elements. (194n) pp.117-118, if one were to soley ignore the electrical
elements of the Las Vegas Strip, and look at it only in terms of
traditional architecture, then, so too, "Like the complex accumulations of
the Roman Forum, the Strip by day reads as chaos if you perceive only its
forms and exclude its symbolic content" which the authors say includes our
20th-century communications technology. (195) p.119, (196) p.129, (197)
p.129, (198) p.130 (199) p.130, (200) p.135, (201n) p.149, this statement
is out-of-context, referring to an internal architectural debate made by
the authors against the "modernists." We do not view the limit for this
aspect of "total design = total control" to be only for the modernists, but
for any and possibly all architecture. We believe that, in seeking a
relationship between the "new" and "traditional" architectures, this leads
us to question this ethical axiom with regards to "totalitarian" issues it
raises, and which should not be dismissed. This issue should be taken
within context of the new architectural space and time, as it may already
be a "totalitarian" system of organization, yet, made only recently visible
within the electrical order and its architecture of electricity. Thus, this
statement could refer to living within a totalitarian system based upon
public or private power where individuals or groups act as "the state" and
run public or private dictatorships at the expense peoples' basic human
rights. (202n) p.151, Which Technological Revolution?, still this does not
"answer" the axiomatic situation of "total design = total control" but only
refers to it again as a problematic situation in need of "solutions." The
premise that "humans = imperfect" and "machines = perfect" is largely
debased by Lewis Mumford in Myth of the Machine. Thus even stating the
question in sufficient terms needs closer scrutiny. (203n) this does not
"solve" the issues inherent in the footnotes #201n and #202n above, but
seeks to address them "visually" through the Electrical Order where they
can literally (and sublimely) be "seen." (204n) pp.152-153, ordinary
architecture is "read" in reference to the typical suburban "Decorated
Shed" of America. (205n) pp.152-153, ironically this text refers to a
wonderful drawing (Fig. 142) called "Precedents of Suburban Symbols,"
Learning from Levittown studio, Yale, 1970, where symbols have
cartoon-drawn "comment bubbles"- the most profound of which is of a natural
Gas Meter that sticks out of a lawn and says: "PSSST! I'm Not Here -
Pretend You Don't See Me!" (206n) p.153, the text indicates some "liberal -
vs - conservative" bashing that took place with the authors and students at
Yale, and other schools regarding these issues. (207n) p.154, referring to
"applied symbols" such as stylistic ornaments on houses, fences, lampposts,
which we propose includes common electrical elements. (208n) p.154, this
statement summarizes the role that "traditional" thinkers have taken with
regard to the new electrical order, most often by ignoring it and saying it
is "wrong, bad, and ugly" as the authors indicate within the general thesis
on "Ugly and Ordinary Architecture." (209) p.155, (210) p.155, (211) p.161,
(212) p.161, (213n) p.161, this does not negate the problems in the new
electrical order but rather seeks to address them through an architecture
of electricity. Nor are issues such as global capitalism, 'private'
socialism, or representational democracy to be ignored. (216) p.163,
The Foundations of Architecture, Selections from the Dictionnaire raisonné,
Eugene-Emmanual Viollet-Le Duc, Introduction by Barry Bergdoll, Translation
by Kenneth D. Whitehead, George Braziler, NY, c.1990, (217n) p.33,
Dictionary of architecture, definition of architecture

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