Springs Preserve Visitor Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas Valley Water District
2008. American Council of Engineering Companies Platinum Award
2008. American Institute of Steel Construction Ideas Award
2008. Southwest Contractor Award
2007. Newsweek Top Four Designs for a Healthier Planet
2007. AIA Nevada Citation Award
2007. City of Las Vegas Mayor’s Urban Design Award
2003. AIA Nevada Honor Unbuilt Project Award
The Las Vegas Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural attraction developed to commemorate Las Vegas’ dynamic heritage. It also provides a vision for a sustainable future. The primary challenge was to convey the cultural heritage of the site by means of exhibits and interpretive media.
The Ori-Gen Experience is a 53,000 square foot exhibit building featuring three galleries and a theater clustered around a rotunda element. The 24,500 square foot guest services building houses a gift shop on the first level and a second-level café with a balcony that provides views of the site. We designed these facilities in partnership with Jones Studio.
The Springs Preserve is an interactive environment that highlights the heritage of the springs—a source of water for Native Americans living here thousands of years ago. We organized the project along a creek path, the Ravine Walk that links the site amenities. The design leads the visitor to engage an immersing desert ravine that the opposing walls of the buildings form. Receded in landscape, the buildings are oriented to afford seek-and-discover experiences that solidify a lasting impression.
The primary challenge was to convey the cultural story of the site by means of exhibits and interpretive features. We accomplished this by melding buildings and site into a singular expression. Walls blend with the existing and created landforms while commanding a subtle visual presence in the ground plane. These landforms interact with the shaded exterior gathering spaces to create soothing oases. The visitor center received LEED Platinum Certification and features sustainable, regional, durable, recyclable and low-maintenance materials, including weathered steel, energy efficient glass, recycled composite plastic and wood products and drought tolerant landscaping.
Just as the construction materials harmonize with the environment, the basic forms of the buildings seek sensitivity with the land. Long elevations of vertical board-formed concrete walls lead visitors’ eyes throughout the site to building entrances and the landscape. Water is one of the project’s central themes. The design of the buildings demonstrates how the life-giving resource of water has drawn and supported the Las Vegas Valley’s culture throughout history. We carefully controlled many of the major experiences around the Springs Preserve by compressing entrances and releasing visitors into surprisingly open and unexpected spaces in order to evoke the flow of water.