-- meeting 10 dec

John and Leah and I met to go through our material thus far.  we had sort of a strategizing discussion, looking at how we are constructing our arguments and how site and program are beginning to fold in.  notes for me:
-- argument to better highlight: Las Vegas is the type of city that conceals process--the becoming of the image.  everything just is in front of you without evidence of being made, learned, developed...and this means there has been little to no attention to the development or process of the rest of the city.  an urban center however might capture that.
-- be prepared to shut down other discussions that could derail my intended conversation, i.e. have a brilliant 3-sentence response ready to put an end to potential sideline objections.  I am interested in examining contemporary physical vs non-physical interaction in relationship to designing for the physical (urban) realm.  while I am rejecting propaganda that conflates physical and virtual socialization, my interests are not in that conflict but to set up the discussion of physical space in the city.
-- in terms of potential overlap/appropriated/threshold program, I should further examine existing constituents in the city.  where does overlap or deformation occur?  kitchens serving multiple programs, for example.  develop close program analysis through more specific versions of the diagrams I'm working with.
-- document draft to be submitted next wednesday 17 dec.

and p.s. news from LV today:

"Casinos on the Strip suffered through their worst month in at least 25 years in October, as the gaming win dropped 25.7 percent.  Statewide, casinos recorded their biggest monthly decline, 22.3 percent.  The only category of slot machines that showed an increase were penny slots, which were up 10 percent."  ( "Strip gaming win plummets 25 percent in October," Las Veags Sun, Dec 10 2008)

"When Nellis Air Force Base was built, it was surrounded by open space, which was ideal. But now Nellis is feeling the pinch of the Las Vegas Valley’s growth.  North Las Vegas officials don’t want to stop plans to bring more development and people to the city. And there is little the Air Force can do to stop the city.  Nellis commander Col. Howard Belote fears that with the possibility the open space nearby will be developed, 'the reason for Nellis to exist is almost gone.'  Considering the national and local importance of the base, North Las Vegas should be a good neighbor and work with the Air Force instead of taking actions that could push the base out of town."  ("Pressed for space," Las Vegas Sun, Dec 10 2008)

"A survey released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association in Washington found a 6.5 percent increase in the use of public transportation in this country from July through September over the same period a year ago even as gas prices began to fall.  The ridership bug extended to Southern Nevada, where the Regional Transportation Commission served 6.15 million bus riders in October, the most ever for a single month. The commission is also on pace to exceed 65 million passengers this year, another record." ("Mass transit mania," Las Vegas Sun, Dec 10, 2008)

(architecture reference)

[john's been telling me to look at this since september]

"We created a building consisting of two parts: one, a monolithic roof that creates a large public forecourt transforming two existing trees into architectural elements; two, a screen-like wall system built out of engineered bamboo that modulates light into the chapel."

“It’s really more of a pavilion than a building,” Stan Allen says. “There’s no HVAC system, there’s no glass. It’s not separated from the environment, and the wind blows right through. It was an opportunity to make a very elemental piece of architecture—it’s just about the space, the structure, and the light.”


[from nytimes today]

"'Perception is reality in our world because people bet what they think is going to happen,' said Jay Rood, who is the race and sports book director for MGM Mirage, which operates the Bellagio’s and nine other casinos’ sports books here."

And that reality is created "in a room with no clocks and no windows."

Time to make different realities!
[collage of Bangkok airport protesters in LV casino]

diagrams: program?

diagrams: las vegas

diagrams: interaction

-- thesis workshop 6 dec

[ a group of thesis prepsters got together to present and discuss our work thus far.  presentations were 10 minutes each, in groups of 2-3, with 30-40 minutes of discussion afterward.  it was became an effective forum for feedback, general idea-sharing, and inspiration to get motivated for the final "thesis prep" stretch.  we hope to do it again in the beginning of next semester. ]

1 -- what is the condition/definition of URBAN and what does that imply for creating "urbanism" in a city like Las Vegas.  I'm positing that the urban condition is one of coexistence rather than cohabitation, meaning that contact occurs across physical/social/political "boundaries" and difference is confronted in order to produce new ideas, innovation, etc. that enable change and progress in the city.  this involves at once a very specific definition of civic space and one that is flexible to include all spaces where such interactions might occur.
2 -- inherent to "urban" is dealing with the issue of BOUNDARY.  boundaries at once allow a strong definition or image of an entity to be projected, yet they must simultaneously operate as thresholds that allow crossover, escape, play across the edge.  this means understanding not only edge conditions between different spaces or communities but also understanding the seam between the social and the built environments, and how one affects the other.  in the past architects have mainly used the tools of cognitive mapping and global positioning to try to understand human subjectivity and connection to context.
3 -- the strategy that must be employed might then be called TEMPORAL GROUNDING (my own name for the moment).  this means that through appropriation by one entity of the boundary or edge of the "other," the group can connect, take ownership, and thus create openings and opportunities for productive interaction.  specifically in Las Vegas--epitomizing boundary conditions in many ways--offers an opportunity for re-appropriated aspects/qualities of economic spaces to become strategies for other programs.  civic space is then created that uses the power of escape and play to its advantage.

I'm still analyzing what could be seen as currently "urban" in Las Vegas, and in contrast what the various liminal conditions of the city are.  through this I would like to make an overall growth proposal that is polycentric (as discussed at midreview), assuming insertions at various moments of boundary conflation/overlap within the city.  I still think that for choosing a focus point, however, I will be most interested in an area "one-off" from the Strip, ingrained in the permanent population of the city but using/incorporating the tourist as well.  one such site is highlighted.  conditions here inlclude:
-- located on the main east-west connection across the Strip (Desert Inn road actually runs under LV Blvd, so you avoid the traffic)
-- proximity to the proposed LV Blvd monorail (hub for public transit?  thinking specifically of casino workers)
-- in a to-be-redeveloped industrial area between LV Blvd and the highway.  right now the area has mostly strip clubs, the seedy back-side of the luxury Strip
-- across from ChinaTown

program then will have social/infrastructural aspects (bus hub) combined with something more specific.  right now I still think an aspect of housing might be appropriate, but I'm particularly interested in dance.  like relationship (marriage/dating/counseling) program, which I could still also consider, dance implies connection, physicality, crossing boundaries...and can operate on many levels.  an academy, lessons for tourists/residents, performance spaces, some relationship to exotic...?  speculation for using the program toward the end of people meeting.

questions about intent: designing a new casino typology--the big box--or something else?  a:  something else.  rather I would explore a combination of social + specific programs that utilize the casino typology to create new civic space.  re-making the casino specifically is not my goal, nor likely a feasible goal given the success of current economic operations in these spaces.  but thinking of the casino as a city is productive, and specificities about its nature could be productive for creating urban space.  looking at cycles...
similarly, in response to questions about the nature of tourism and singular interactions, I emphasize that the interactions I want to foreground are those potentially within the residential/permanent community, and secondarily those including tourists.
DEFINE public vs civic (social) spaces.  understand private vs public roles.  and make clear my own interests, especially because the image of LV has been so pervasive, so studied, and everyone comes in with their own notions (precisely what I would like to challenge).
escapism remains an important part of my research and strategy, and that should be more strongly incorporated into my proposal.
strengthen diagrams, site and program speculation...