A couple years back, I did a deep dive into urban planning books and one of the texts Lewis Dijkstra recommended was Robert Venturi’s Learning from Las Vegas.
The biggest thing I remember from the book; giant signs, visible from miles away, indicating giant parking lot moats around the building they’re marking.
At Woodbury Lakes (and all other modern
shopping lifestyle centers), the exteriors of the buildings are somewhat different and fake. Fake windows on the fake second story. Fake brick veneer on fake pillars. Yet the interiors are identical. Just like in Vegas – the exterior of the casinos fights to be more unique, more interesting and more attractive than the next. Once inside, each casino is an identical warehouse (in a post modern twist Turtle Lake’s St. Croix Casino looks like a warehouse from the outside).
But then again, how else do you go from a vacant lot to bustling shopping village in fewer than 11 months?
I don’t remember if the the different-on-the-outside/same-in-the-inside lesson was in Venturi’s classic book. Should be.