Las Vegas City Hall
Monday 03 Jun 2013


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Certified LEED-NC Gold, City Hall opened in 2012 and includes 300,000 sq ft of office space, a 500-seat City Council chamber, street-level retail, staff and public amenities, and a public plaza. Stakeholders wanted the building to have an iconic presence that set it apart from the resorts on Las Vegas Strip. Instead, they wanted City Hall to celebrate the heritage of this great American city, provide the civic home that Las Vegas lacked, and be an example of responsible, sustainable architecture in a place famed for excess and consumption.

The design tells the story of the life-giving energy resources that have shaped Las Vegas, beginning with the Council chamber's curvilinear shape. Las Vegas is named for meadows once fed by underground springs that attracted the desert area's first residents, the Paiute tribe. Recalling the mounds pushed up by the springs, the Council chamber's form evokes the ancient natural world. The story continues with a tribute to the Hoover Dam, which shaped Las Vegas and provides much of its power today. Horizontal bands on the north and west façades suggest stratified canyon walls; glass fins covering the southern façade look like cascading water. The sun, energy source of the future, is represented by "rays" across the east façade that fall onto the plaza's 33 "trees," tall steel structures mounted with photovoltaic panels. Here begins the story of sustainability - the treetop panels combine with rooftop PV panels to annually contribute approximately 290,000 kilowatt hours of power to the grid. At night, programmable LED lights produce light shows dancing across the building's façade in a tribute to the city's world-famous heritage of light.

Past and present merge inside the three-level Great Room forming City Hall's main lobby and joining the building's two distinct shapes. Horizontal veining and varied surfaces of the stone floor and walls evoke the canyon's natural fissures. The Grand Staircase seems sculpted from canyon walls; stone piers create an illusion of the Hoover Dam's concrete blocks. Between the piers, laminated glass of varying thickness creates the effect of waterfalls. Reflective silver and bronze metallic ribbons traversing the ceilings of the Great Room and Council chamber represent the desert springs, while glimpses of the chamber's undulating sand-coloured walls are seen behind the staircase. An exuberant symbol of strength and resilience, City Hall is a celebration of the past, present, and promising future of Las Vegas and its residents.

Elkus Manfredi Architects

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