ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

to a man with a hammer (chapter XXIII)

I read an interesting article recently about how Steve Wynn's Mirage Casino changed the character of Las Vegas. Based on what I read, I was impressed by how Wynn managed the architecture and planning of the operation. He was able to create an environment where his design team could make good decisions and the end result was a project that proved many of his competitors and critics wrong. The Mirage became something that other people had to emulate to stay in business.

While I respect the process, I'm not particularly excited by casinos or gambling. The architecture devoted to such pursuits strikes me as ironic and a little bit poignant. The money that sustains such operations comes from zombies who push buttons continuously like they're in some sort of laboratory experiment.

It's also worth noting that Wynn has sought to replicate the Mirage model everywhere else--from Macau to Everett, Massachusetts. The Everett project is something that I assign a 25% chance of success. If Wynn does succeed in securing the license he'll plop down another Mirage look-alike. I doubt it will have the gilded luster of the original, and I doubt it will deliver benefits that exceed its social costs.

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