Steven Izenour

Steven Izenour (1940-2001) was coauthor of Learning from Las Vegas (MIT Press, 1977) and a principal in the Philadelphia firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc (VSBA). His most noted projects at VSBA include Philadelphia's Basco showroom, the George D. Widener Memorial Treehouse at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Camden Children's Garden, and the house he designed for his parents in Stony Creek, Connecticut.

  • Learning From Las Vegas, Facsimile Edition

    Learning From Las Vegas, Facsimile Edition

    Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour

    A fascimile edition of the long-out-of-print large-format edition designed by design icon Muriel Cooper.

    Upon its publication by the MIT Press in 1972, Learning from Las Vegas was immediately influential and controversial. The authors made an argument that was revolutionary for its time—that the billboards and casinos of Las Vegas were worthy of architectural attention—and offered a challenge for contemporary architects obsessed with the heroic and monumental. The physical book itself, designed by MIT's iconic designer Muriel Cooper, was hailed as a masterpiece of modernist design, but the book's design struck the authors as too monumental for a text that praised the ugly and ordinary over the heroic and monumental. The MIT Press published a revised version in 1977—a modest paperback that the authors felt was more in keeping with the argument of the book—and the original Cooper-designed book fell out of print and became a highly sought-after collectors' item; it now sells for thousands of dollars in the rare book market, while the author-redesigned paperback has remained continuously in print at a price affordable to students. Now, decades after the original hardcover edition sold out, the MIT Press is publishing a facsimile edition of the original large-format Cooper-designed edition of Learning from Las Vegas, complete with translucent glassine wrap. This edition also features a spirited preface by Denise Scott Brown, looking back on the creation of the book and explaining her and Robert Venturi's reservations about the original design.

    Learning from Las Vegas begins with the Las Vegas Strip and proceeds to "Ugly and Ordinary Architecture, or the Decorated Shed," on symbolism in architecture and the iconography of urban sprawl. As Scott Brown says in her introduction, the book “upended sacred cows … would not bad-mouth bad taste, and redefined architectural research.”

  • White Towers, New Edition

    White Towers, New Edition

    Paul Hirshorn and Steven Izenour

    The reissue of a classic MIT Press title first published almost thirty years ago tracing the theme and variations in the architecture of the White Tower hamburger chain and recapturing a nearly forgotten piece of American history.

    Today's dominant fast-food franchises spend millions to persuade us that they do it all for us, that we can have it our way. White Tower, the pioneering hamburger chain founded in 1926, never felt the need for this kind of advertising; it depended on its instantly recognizable building to say it all. Those gleaming white (“clean”), well-lighted (“always open”), streamlined (“fast and efficient”), human-scaled (“friendly”) structures were three-dimensional billboards for their franchise, capped by an actual white tower often redundantly labeled, in bold graphics, “White Tower.” This was branding before the age of branding. The photographs in this classic book not only trace the evolution of a restaurant chain, they record an iconography of a part of the American built environment that no longer exists. In an approach very much in the spirit of Learning from Las Vegas, by Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour, architects Paul Hirshorn and Steven Izenour have selected photographs taken in a variety of styles—from the stark and deadpan to family album-like snapshots. In an affectionately written introductory essay, Hirshorn and Izenour describe the identifiable and idiosyncratic commercial architectural style of the 1930s and 1940s and document the development of the White Tower buildings and their stylistic variations. Their conversations with former White Tower employees—including Charles Johnson, White Tower's architect for over forty years—are the source of many telling quotations and entertaining captions that set their analysis of the buildings within a broader story of corporate culture, mass marketing, and the rise of franchising in the twentieth century.

  • Learning From Las Vegas, Revised Edition

    Learning From Las Vegas, Revised Edition

    The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form

    Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour

    Learning from Las Vegas created a healthy controversy on its appearance in 1972, calling for architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of "common" people and less immodest in their erections of "heroic," self-aggrandizing monuments.

    This revision includes the full texts of Part I of the original, on the Las Vegas strip, and Part II, "Ugly and Ordinary Architecture, or the Decorated Shed," a generalization from the findings of the first part on symbolism in architecture and the iconography of urban sprawl. (The final part of the first edition, on the architectural work of the firm Venturi and Rauch, is not included in the revision.) The new paperback edition has a smaller format, fewer pictures, and a considerably lower price than the original. There are an added preface by Scott Brown and a bibliography of writings by the members of Venturi and Rauch and about the firm's work.

    • Hardcover $30.00
    • Paperback $28.95