In 1972 Robert Venturi and his wife, Denise Scott Brown, published a book that would revolutionize architecture, and usher-in the postmodern condition to environmental design. Learning From Las Vegas became the outline for approaching architecture and social spaces for the following three decades. In the Lehigh Valley, Venturi has contributed the Allentown Art Museum extension and the Lehigh Valley Hospital.
True to the spirit of the postmodern, the social structures of the Lehigh Valley have become a self-referential organism, illustrating the very conception of art and architecture that Venturi and Scott Brown set-forth in Learning From Las Vegas. In this ongoing photoessay, I seek to understand how we can learn of the present and future of social spaces through the Lehigh Valley; a space that embodies the transition from the modern industrial to the postmodern service market, in a way that no other place can. We find the rusting and decaying artifacts of the industrial revolution treated as monuments and sculptures to the present service revolution of hospitality, art/ifactuality, and technology. Learning From The Lehigh Valley is the evidence for, and a moving beyond, the observations made in Las Vegas in the late 20th century, and their living manifestation in the Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem Pennsylvania area.