I’ve made my point in the Timeless House that we are what we build. Our buildings offer a telling narrative of who we are and what we believe and value. I’ve re-contemplated this idea as I consider casino construction techniques. If you’ve been to Las Vegas, you know what I mean. They famously recreate or copy famous places; New York, or Paris for example. Just across the Texas border in Oklahoma we have the Winstar World casino.
This Winstar is called the “world” casino and they use the world theme as a way to tie together the rambling space; London, Madrid, Beijing, etc..
This type of “themed” construction is unfortunately contagious. It encourages well-meaning homeowners that they can rebuild Versailles in New Jersey or build an English castle in Nebraska. I’m not discouraging or disparaging dream building. Some dreams need to be built and realized. Unfortunately, it doesn’t promote creativity or craftsmanship. Creativity is discouraged to create something new but rather find a way to create a cheap copy. This type of construction also discourages craftsmanship because the building methods are not improved, instead foam and paint are used to create everything.
Here is a picture of the side of the Winstar as they were constructing Chinese tower.
Sadly, its clear that the casino is really just a “tent”. Like a Hollywood set, there is nothing “real” here. These foam and decorated surfaces do not promote fine craftsmanship, in fact they actually encourage us that we don’t need to know how to craft because with these products we can make anything.
Casino construction is like a virus. It encourages us that it is easy to “rebuild” the great buildings of the past. These are buildings that discourage craft, corrupt design and cheat us of beauty. Casino construction is narrating a sad tale about who we are and what we believe. We can do better.