February 27, 2006
Images Courtesy Gehry Partners
Frank Gehry is the newest act to play
Las Vegas. On February 11, the 76-year-old architect unveiled
his first Vegas building: the $60-million Lou Ruvo Alzheimer's
Institute, located downtown. The two-acre complex will be
built on land deeded to the institute by the city of Las Vegas
as part of its 61-acre Union Park development.
The five-story, 55,000-square-foot building will feature
clinical, research and outpatient exam rooms for Alzheimer
and other brain disease victims. Additional plans include
a 9,000-square-foot banquet hall, flanked by a Wolfgang Puck
cafe and catering kitchen on one side, and an interactive
"Museum of the Mind" on the other. The institute
plans to rent out its public areas at night and on weekends
to help meet its operating expenses.
The building's banquet hall will be covered by a wildly curvy,
undulating metal-and-glass trellis reaching up to 75 feet,
while the main entrance will be made up of stacked building
blocks separated by glass enclosed spaces. The contrast suggests
the dual functions of the brain, simultaneously ordered and
chaotic, structured and imaginative.
"This is something that will separate us from any other
place on the face of the earth," said Mayor Oscar Goodman.
"[Tourists] are going to come down to downtown Las Vegas
to take a look at this phenomenon."
The project will be funded by the Las Vegas-based nonprofit
Keep Memory Alive Foundation for brain disease research, founded
by Larry Ruvo, Nevada's senior managing director for Southern
Wine and Spirits. The new building is named after Ruvo's father,
who died of Alzheimer's. Gehry characterized the project as
"the mouse that roars" due to its modest yet assertive
presence next to neighboring high-rise developments.
Construction is expected to begin August 4, with completion