Shortly after the publication of the first edition of Learning from Las Vegas in 1972, Robert Venturi commented, “I don’t know why, but we irritate architects very much.”1 As Martino Stierli’s Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film demonstrates, that irritation was prompted by a deep-rooted strategy of provocation. Stierli’s book locates Learning from Las Vegas within its intellectual antecedents, a set of theoretical positions and methodological propositions centered on the relations among urban form, modes of perception, automobility, and popular culture. As a contextual study, it posits that Learning from Las Vegas was more closely aligned with modernity than its critics allowed.

Scholarship on the relation...

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