Las Vegas, Nevada, Sin City in the desert: its hotels, casinos, and restaurants generate more than
half-a-million tons of waste per year, enough to cover an American football field 10 m deep each day.
Las Vegas hotels generate more trash than most other tourist destinations. Las Vegas sells the “free-
dom to waste” as an amenity. “All you can eat” buffets - the Las Vegas tourist’s dream - produce 25%
more waste than a` la carte restaurants, and the large number of quick-service restaurants adds to the
waste stream because they typically use very little recyclable material. Also, Las Vegas is a city of
lights using countless light bulbs that end up in the waste deposit.
In a country where telephone books have added significantly to the volume of waste dumps, it is not
insignificant that Las Vegas, due to its rapid growth, is the only U.S. town that issues new telephone
books not once but twice a year.
This detritus is intimately linked to Las Vegas’ conspicuous consumption, but the trash itself is nearly
invisible. Waste is strictly separated in space and time from the lavish spectacle of revelry, removed as
soon as it appears, and taken backstage into the hidden margins.
Drawing on the notion of waste as social construction and, further, on the legibility of trash patterns
as records of human consumption, this project adds a specific site to a special place: Bin City next to
Sin City. Located at the edge of Las Vegas, Bin City acts as a space of ent-anglement between the
urban and the ecological, consumption and recycling, and trash and tourism - a place where techno-
logical management, critical knowledge, and playful experience converge…
Download JAE introduction by Terri Fuglem and Bruce Webb
JAE Best Design Article Award, ASCA 2006/2007
Statement of the jury:
"Gabu Heindl's "Bin City" is richly deserving of the award for best design article to appear in volume 59 of the
Journal of Architectural Education. Not only does the article document a project that engages a number of
critical issues in contemporary urban development, but it presents the project in a compelling manner through
well-chosen images and a concise, yet pointed text. Visually, "Bin City" recalls the work of Constant and
Superstudio. Theoretically, it picks up where Venturi and Scott Brown left off in Learning from Las Vegas,
situating itself at the intersection of urban sprawl, consumerism, and waste. In proposing a tourist attraction
at the Las Vegas urban edge, "Bin City" both extends and undermines the spectacle of the Strip through its
deliberate aestheticizing of garbage and its transformation of a blighted greyfield into a post-industrial, environ-
mentally-conscious theme park."