Megalithic CityCenter hotel adds sparkle back to the Las Vegas development
Rafael Viñoly's 1,495 room Las Vegas hotel opened yesterday (1 Dec) bringing the completion of the $8.5billion CityCenter MGM development a giant step closer to realisation.
The form of the 1.6 m sq ft, 57 storey Vdara Hotel and Spa is a crescent providing alternative perspectives from each elevation and offering a variety of views across the Las Vegas desert. The tower is distinguished by three recessed segments of different heights and contrasting colours. Designed by RV Architecture LLC, under the leadership of Rafael Viñoly FAIA Vdara becomes a monument not just because of its architect but because of its contrast with the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip. The building's modern character is instead generated by both form and by the alternating bands of reflective vision glass and light-diffusing, acid-etched spandrel glass in black and white which are set off on different planes to achieve a unique shimmering texture on the façade.
The body of the hotel ensures that a stay at the Vdara will be unlike any other, with the wide curve of the building calling for the 1,495 suites to be wide and shallow to optimise natural light infusion and views. In addition to the rooms a curved pool deck, feature bar, two-level Vdara Health & Beauty, sky pool and lounge, conference center with meeting rooms, sub-divisible 4,000 square-foot ballroom, boardroom, and a pre-function/registration area are available to visitors.
The announcement comes as a breath of fresh air for a development which has been steeped in negativity over the past year. News of lowered room prices and high vacancy rates in the wider CityCenter development was rife after MGM announced a $750 million third quarter loss. Earlier this year CityCenter had to be saved from bankruptcy by a global effort with eight banks from around the world infusing the development with $1.8 billion. CityCenter is also a collaboration between MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World which this week hit the headlines by requesting a debt standstill for its $80billion obligations. Design-wise the project has seen its fair share of difficulties too with Norman Foster's Harmon Hotel, designed as the gateway project for CityCenter, being cut in half, reportedly due to construction flaws, and the opening delayed until next year.
In addition to Vdara and the Harmon Hotel, Daniel Libeskind has designed the entertainment district - Crystals, Helmut Jahn has designed twin residential towers - Veer Towers, KPF has designed the hotel and residential Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas and Pelli Clarke Pelli has designed ARIA, a resort and casino, the majority of which are set to open this month.
Niki May Young