Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour, and Denise Scott-Brown, Learning from Las Vegas, 1972


Suggested by Jessica Baran

The A&P Parking lot is a current phase in the evolution of vast space since Versaille (Fig.12). The space that divides high-speed highway and low, sparse buildings produces no enclosure and little direction. To move through this landscape is to move over vast expansive texture: the megatexture of the commercial landscape. The parking lot is the parterre of the asphalt landscape (Fig. 13). The patterns of the parking lines give direction much as the paving patterns, curbs, borders, and tapis vert give direction in Versailles; grids of lamp posts substitute for obelisks, rows of urns and statues as points of identity and continuity in the vast space. But it is the highway signs, through their sculptural forms or pictorial silhouettes, their particular positions in space, their inflected shapes, and their graphic meanings, that identify and unify the megatexture. They make verbal and symbolic connections through space, communicating a complexity of meanings through hundreds of associations in a few seconds from far away. Symbol dominates space. Architecture is not enough.