Karin Jaschke and Silke Ötsch (eds.).Stripping Las Vegas: A Contextual Review of Casino Resort Architecture, Weimar: University of Weimar Press, 2003. ISBN: 3-86068-192-3.
My interest in Las Vegas came initially from three sources: private trips to Las Vegas; an academic interest in what one may broadly call ludic environments; and the pervasive yet narrow nature of the architectural debate on Las Vegas in the 1990. These discussions focused heavily on issues of theming while largely ignoring the architectural and urban history and complex contemporary situation of Las Vegas. They also failed to address the socio-psychological and theoretical issues underpinning Las Vegas' emergence as a gambling metropolis and fastest growing US city.
In 1997, with a grant from Princeton University and sponsoring by the Mirage Group/Steve Wynn, I was able to spend a month conducting research in Las Vegas. Drawing on previous work on toy-museums and the spatiality of play, I subsequently wrote a paper on casino-interiors, with the aim of expanding the 'themed-facade' focus to interior spaces and addressing the central issue of gambling-spaces, from a theoretical and sociological point of view.
In 2001 my colleague Silke Ötsch who had also done research on Las Vegas, and I, began work on the publication in question, Stripping Las Vegas. Our intention was to produce a comprehensive and multi-voiced reference work on Las Vegas Resort Architecture for the architectural readership, while simultaneously offering starting-points for expanding the theoretical discussion on Las Vegas. We were able to enlist a number of leading and innovative Las Vegas scholars, architects, and writers to contribute to the book and, overall, fulfilled our ambitious brief. We received good international feedback, including an excellent review in Blueprint, despite of the limitations of Weimar University Press's distribution network.