Architect Steven Izenour, co-author of the influential book Learning from Las Vegas and principal in the Philadelphia firm Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates (VSBA), died Aug. 21 while on vacation in Vermont. He was 61.
Izenour, the son of theatre design expert George Izenour, grew up in New Haven, CT, and did undergraduate work at Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania. He joined VSBA in 1969 after receiving a master's degree in architecture from Yale University. In 1972, MIT Press published Learning from Las Vegas, co-authored with VSBA partners Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. The book, which grew out of a seminar at Yale, celebrated the bold energy--the neon, golden arches, and pop commercial iconography--of American urban architecture.
This sensibility informed Izenour's work as an architect. Among his most well known projects are Philadelphia's Basco showroom, the George D. Widener Memorial Treehouse at the Philadelphia Zoo, and the Camden Children's Garden, which opened in 1999. He also designed lighting for Benjamin Franklin Bridge during Philadelphia's Bicentennial festivities for the U.S. Constitution. Izenour's honors include AIA National Honor Awards for Main Streets Alaska and for the design of his parents' house on Long Island Sound.
Izenour also authored numerous articles, lectured, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, among other schools. He is survived by his wife Elisabeth, his three children, and his parents.