Rethinking the Roadside...Again
52 years after publication of Robert Venturi's seminal book Learning from Las Vegas, the questions raised and insights presented by co-authors Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour are just as prescient.
Recent SKB commissions to design convenience stores and retail shopping centers where the small villages along I-35 are rapidly turning into towns and cities, has required the design teams to think about the now and not-too-distant future in a different way.
After extensive research, it became clear that the customers are very sophisticated in tastes and have been exposed to much of what used to be called "high design." The idea of a "vernacular" architecture is becoming obsolete as the two modes meld into one.
As SKB President and Architectural Director Mark Baughman presented in a firmwide pinup, "It seems like architecture has become more like product design. We have the ability to build just about any form regardless of traditional architectural or structural principles, and most people are comfortable in a world of collage or collection of samples. This makes it very difficult to set meaningful goals for designing buildings."
Case in point is SKB's design for a new chain of convenience stores which went through numerous, diverse iterations.
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