Still learning from Las Vegas? : themeing : trash or treasure

Marshall, Ingrid (1998). Still learning from Las Vegas? : themeing : trash or treasure B.A. Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Marshall, Ingrid
Thesis Title Still learning from Las Vegas? : themeing : trash or treasure
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1998-01-01
Thesis type B.A. Thesis
Supervisor John Macarthur
Total pages 92
Language eng
Subjects 120101 Architectural Design
Formatted abstract
Themed architecture, as exemplified on the Las Vegas Strip, is usually ignored or derided by the ‘serious’ architectural community. This thesis challenges this position. The commercial success o f themed developments has lead to an enormous growth in the application o f this approach to building design. Can architects disregard this emerging force? In considering whether architects can still ieam from Las Vegas’ themed architecture is seen to raise a series o f questions relevant to contemporary architecture in general, some o f which are examined in this paper.

Image plays an important role in themed casinos. This is explored through discussion o f Jean Baudrillard’s notion o f simulacra and the work o f Walter Benjamin. Themed architecture is proposed as a possible precursor to a ‘serious’ image-based architecture. Themed architecture is compared with Post-Modernism and many similarities noted. While sharing many characteristics they are seen to differ substantially in their popularity, Post-Modern architecture appealed to a ‘high’ cultural elite and has largely fallen from favour, whereas themed architecture’s popularity is growing. The appeal of themed architecture is explored through comparison with camivalesque humour. The positive and regenerative manner o f parody and transgression noted by Bakhtin in early European carnival should apply to the inverted representations evident on The Strip. Themed architecture has evolved with a close association with commercial practices. The process o f consumption is central in many forms o f Popular culture; themed architecture, especially Las Vegas casinos, is no exception. The consumption o f architecture and themed architecture’s role in consuming other commodities is discussed.

This thesis does not claim Las Vegas’ themed casino developments as valuable architectural pieces. However they command attention as the processes underlying their plastic facades exhibit considerable merit.
Keyword Architectural Pieces
Themed Architecture
Las vegas Themed Casinos

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 21:49:48 EST by Asma Asrar Qureshi on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service