Contract - Splashy and Sustainable: Gehry Partners design a medical research facility in Las Vegas

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Splashy and Sustainable: Gehry Partners design a medical research facility in Las Vegas

11 October, 2010

-By Michael Webb


Larry Ruvo, a Nevada entrepreneur who lost his father to Alzheimer’s, formed an alliance with a major medical institution and founded the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He then persuaded Frank Gehry, who had previously refused to build in Las Vegas, to design a facility that would create a sense of place and purpose. “I wanted to use his celebrity to help find a cure for a disease while generating a sense of excitement,” says Ruvo.

The Center is located on the northern edge of downtown, just off Interstate 15. It’s a bleak 61-acre site, bracketed by the windowless hulk of a wholesale design center, cartoonish local government offices, and a future performing arts center and park. Gehry’s modestly scaled structure holds its own, presenting four distinct but interrelated faces to wide boulevards and parking lots. It comprises a free-form events space contained within an irregular cluster of sculptural forms, clad in brushed stainless plates, with punched-out window and skylight openings. This carapace swoops over a courtyard as a bowed trellis, and the expanded openings cast a pattern of dappled shade over the pavers. A supporting skeleton of exposed steel beams links the public facility to the offset white stucco blocks of treatment rooms, labs, and a fourth-floor office suite, all lit from expansive bay windows. Reception, a small library, and a café open off a breezeway, and the inner wall of the courtyard has panels of aqua, lemon, and red hues that provide a vivid contrast to the silver and white palette of the complex.

ruvo interiorThe Ruvo Center has a joyful exuberance and geometric invention that captures the spontaneity of the architects’ sketches and models. As Gehry explains, on this site and for this mission, “It had to have a ‘wow’ factor—it couldn’t be a quiet little building.” And the “wow” is more than skin-deep. In commissioning the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Paul Allen invited Gehry to be “swoopy,” but the excitement was all on the outside, relinquishing the interior to a conventional and claustrophobic set of exhibits. Here, inner volumes and exterior forms are wedded, and the rational and intuitive wings of the building are linked like the two halves of the human brain—an apt image for this institution.

This is a rare instance of an architect exercising total control over a project, installing his own furniture and lighting, as well as selecting the art. “The important thing for me is that the building should work well for the people who use it,” says Gehry. “Lots of natural light, warm finishes, natural wood, and nice colors to make users feel comfortable.” There is no waiting area—patients proceed directly from reception to a consulting room—and the furnishings have a residential scale and character.

The star of the show is the interior of the events space, which is a true original, radically different in form and effect from anything that has come before. It evokes a spectral forest clearing, a soaring white canopy of foliage, with 199 punched-out openings, partially supported on square trunks and angular branches. Two stylized trees are located inside the glass entry wall, which frames and reflects the complex structure over the courtyard. “I designed it as chapel for Larry’s father,” says Gehry. “The curves of the wall and the ceiling create an environment that is simultaneously uplifting and intimate.” The small openings pull in natural light and establish a visual link to the city. In contrast to the rigor and symmetry of Walt Disney Hall, this interior is liberated from programmatic constraints; it’s simply a joyful place in which to celebrate bar mitzvahs and weddings, raise funds, and party.
ruvo courtyard
The Center is a reproach to the wasteful ways of Las Vegas, where scarce natural resources are squandered on golf courses, fountains, and blazing signage. Both blocks open up to the north, the roof of the clinic is white, and the trellis deflects sunlight from a courtyard that is open to breezes from east and west. The small skylights and windows are triple glazed and can be shut off with motorized blinds. Building materials were sourced from the region: concrete from the city and structural steel and stainless-steel cladding from neighboring states. Only the lower 10 feet of the events space is cooled, air conditioning is automatically shut off when the buildings are not in use, and extensive use is made of LEDs. The landscaping makes the most of drought-resistant plantings.

Gehry has combined sustainability with a splashiness that will generate revenue and attention for medical research. He provides a functional flow of space and a humane working environment that relieves the emotional stress of patients and staff. The Center is a model for the city and the health industry, challenging everyone to aim higher.


who
Project: The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Client: Keep Memory Alive. Design architect: Gehry Partners; Frank Gehry, design partner; Terry Bell, project partner; Brian Zamora, project designer; Kristin Ragins, Ronald A. Rosell, David Rodriguez, Michael Sedlacek, project architects; Andrew Galambos, Eun Sung Chang, Izaburo Kibayashi, Michael O’Boyle, Mok Wai Wan, Natalie Magarian, Natalie Milberg, Nora Wolin, Sameer Kashyap, Sarah David, Yvon Romeus, project team. Structural engineer: WSP Cantor Seinuk. Mechanical/electrical engineer, plumbing, security, telecommunications, fire protection engineer: Cosentini Associates. Lighting designer: L’Observatoire International. Acoustical engineer: McKay Conant Hoover, Inc. and Nagata Acoustics. Building transportation: Edgett Williams Consulting Group, Inc. Life safety engineers: Schirmer Engineering. Climate engineer: Transsolar. Landscape architect: Deneen Powell Atelier, Inc. Civil engineer: G.C. Wallace, Inc. Building Maintenance: Lerch Bates. Audio/visual engineer: Spurgeon Design and Development. General contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Photographer: Matthew Carbone.

what
Door hardware: Finish Hardware Technology. Structural system: Concrete filled metal deck floor slabs, structural steel column and beam framing(catering kitchen, community space, medical building); integrated structural roofing system comprised of a prefabricated structural steel shell (event center). Other major materials: Stainless steel roofing, Thermoplastic membrane roofing, Painted Exterior Cement Plaster, Glass and Aluminum Glazing systems.

where
Location: Las Vegas, NV. Total sq. ft.: 60,265 sq. ft. Site Area: 85,180 sq. ft.




Splashy and Sustainable: Gehry Partners design a medical research facility in Las Vegas

11 October, 2010


Matthew Carbone

Larry Ruvo, a Nevada entrepreneur who lost his father to Alzheimer’s, formed an alliance with a major medical institution and founded the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He then persuaded Frank Gehry, who had previously refused to build in Las Vegas, to design a facility that would create a sense of place and purpose. “I wanted to use his celebrity to help find a cure for a disease while generating a sense of excitement,” says Ruvo.

The Center is located on the northern edge of downtown, just off Interstate 15. It’s a bleak 61-acre site, bracketed by the windowless hulk of a wholesale design center, cartoonish local government offices, and a future performing arts center and park. Gehry’s modestly scaled structure holds its own, presenting four distinct but interrelated faces to wide boulevards and parking lots. It comprises a free-form events space contained within an irregular cluster of sculptural forms, clad in brushed stainless plates, with punched-out window and skylight openings. This carapace swoops over a courtyard as a bowed trellis, and the expanded openings cast a pattern of dappled shade over the pavers. A supporting skeleton of exposed steel beams links the public facility to the offset white stucco blocks of treatment rooms, labs, and a fourth-floor office suite, all lit from expansive bay windows. Reception, a small library, and a café open off a breezeway, and the inner wall of the courtyard has panels of aqua, lemon, and red hues that provide a vivid contrast to the silver and white palette of the complex.

ruvo interiorThe Ruvo Center has a joyful exuberance and geometric invention that captures the spontaneity of the architects’ sketches and models. As Gehry explains, on this site and for this mission, “It had to have a ‘wow’ factor—it couldn’t be a quiet little building.” And the “wow” is more than skin-deep. In commissioning the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Paul Allen invited Gehry to be “swoopy,” but the excitement was all on the outside, relinquishing the interior to a conventional and claustrophobic set of exhibits. Here, inner volumes and exterior forms are wedded, and the rational and intuitive wings of the building are linked like the two halves of the human brain—an apt image for this institution.

This is a rare instance of an architect exercising total control over a project, installing his own furniture and lighting, as well as selecting the art. “The important thing for me is that the building should work well for the people who use it,” says Gehry. “Lots of natural light, warm finishes, natural wood, and nice colors to make users feel comfortable.” There is no waiting area—patients proceed directly from reception to a consulting room—and the furnishings have a residential scale and character.

The star of the show is the interior of the events space, which is a true original, radically different in form and effect from anything that has come before. It evokes a spectral forest clearing, a soaring white canopy of foliage, with 199 punched-out openings, partially supported on square trunks and angular branches. Two stylized trees are located inside the glass entry wall, which frames and reflects the complex structure over the courtyard. “I designed it as chapel for Larry’s father,” says Gehry. “The curves of the wall and the ceiling create an environment that is simultaneously uplifting and intimate.” The small openings pull in natural light and establish a visual link to the city. In contrast to the rigor and symmetry of Walt Disney Hall, this interior is liberated from programmatic constraints; it’s simply a joyful place in which to celebrate bar mitzvahs and weddings, raise funds, and party.
ruvo courtyard
The Center is a reproach to the wasteful ways of Las Vegas, where scarce natural resources are squandered on golf courses, fountains, and blazing signage. Both blocks open up to the north, the roof of the clinic is white, and the trellis deflects sunlight from a courtyard that is open to breezes from east and west. The small skylights and windows are triple glazed and can be shut off with motorized blinds. Building materials were sourced from the region: concrete from the city and structural steel and stainless-steel cladding from neighboring states. Only the lower 10 feet of the events space is cooled, air conditioning is automatically shut off when the buildings are not in use, and extensive use is made of LEDs. The landscaping makes the most of drought-resistant plantings.

Gehry has combined sustainability with a splashiness that will generate revenue and attention for medical research. He provides a functional flow of space and a humane working environment that relieves the emotional stress of patients and staff. The Center is a model for the city and the health industry, challenging everyone to aim higher.


who
Project: The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Client: Keep Memory Alive. Design architect: Gehry Partners; Frank Gehry, design partner; Terry Bell, project partner; Brian Zamora, project designer; Kristin Ragins, Ronald A. Rosell, David Rodriguez, Michael Sedlacek, project architects; Andrew Galambos, Eun Sung Chang, Izaburo Kibayashi, Michael O’Boyle, Mok Wai Wan, Natalie Magarian, Natalie Milberg, Nora Wolin, Sameer Kashyap, Sarah David, Yvon Romeus, project team. Structural engineer: WSP Cantor Seinuk. Mechanical/electrical engineer, plumbing, security, telecommunications, fire protection engineer: Cosentini Associates. Lighting designer: L’Observatoire International. Acoustical engineer: McKay Conant Hoover, Inc. and Nagata Acoustics. Building transportation: Edgett Williams Consulting Group, Inc. Life safety engineers: Schirmer Engineering. Climate engineer: Transsolar. Landscape architect: Deneen Powell Atelier, Inc. Civil engineer: G.C. Wallace, Inc. Building Maintenance: Lerch Bates. Audio/visual engineer: Spurgeon Design and Development. General contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Photographer: Matthew Carbone.

what
Door hardware: Finish Hardware Technology. Structural system: Concrete filled metal deck floor slabs, structural steel column and beam framing(catering kitchen, community space, medical building); integrated structural roofing system comprised of a prefabricated structural steel shell (event center). Other major materials: Stainless steel roofing, Thermoplastic membrane roofing, Painted Exterior Cement Plaster, Glass and Aluminum Glazing systems.

where
Location: Las Vegas, NV. Total sq. ft.: 60,265 sq. ft. Site Area: 85,180 sq. ft.

 


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