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Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and resources to families with critically ill or injured children. Located in the heart of Las Vegas, RMHC offers a home away from home for families who must travel long distances to seek medical treatment for their children. The Ronald McDonald House provides a comforting and nurturing environment, ensuring that families can stay together during these challenging times whilst offering a range of services including comfortable accommodations, home-cooked meals, transportation assistance, and emotional support. This project is known as Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Las Vegas II and this new house would increase their capacity by 67% and serve more than 188 additional families annually. The new house will be located only 0.3 miles away from their current one and will reside on a plot of land donated by a local neighbor next door to the future new home.
Individual living, resident independence, and safety were of primary significance when designing the new home as the client faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic with their current “hotel” model. The new design focuses on autonomy, encouraging families to function normally day-to-day with little to no staff interaction. Eight dwelling units are provided allowing up to eight families to stay on site at one time. Each suite provides a living room, kitchen, dining counter, private laundry areas, outdoor patios, and one to two bedrooms. Four units are adjacent to the two lockout rooms which can be used to expand the unit size depending on the size of the family, and one unit is ADA-accessible. All eight units are intentionally designed to be identical to assist the facilities management team in the procurement of furniture and equipment donations from the community. The focal point of the project is the centralized courtyard with a whimsical fountain, playground, half-court basketball court, covered picnic tables, artificial turf, lots of greenery, and decorative pavers that provide opportunities for donor recognition. This courtyard establishes a sense of community between the families staying at the home and allows them to connect with the outdoors. Our goal was to minimize or even eliminate indoor circulation to prevent the spread of bacteria and illness. The climactic conditions of Las Vegas permitted the use of outdoor circulation. The concept of wrapping the dwelling units around an outdoor courtyard was an instant hit with the client and became one of the favorite aspects of the project and a first for RMH. Integrating a new Ronald McDonald House into the context of the existing neighborhood was a challenge that was successfully overcome. The client (and neighbors) stressed the importance of blending the new home into its residential neighborhood. The client also desired a home with a Tuscan vocabulary and height in massing at the entry to achieve presence. A grand, open-air entry vestibule with a gabled roof was implemented with arched windows, an ornamental metal entry gate, and wrought iron decorative elements. A calm exterior color palette was selected that reflected similar colors in the neighborhood. After the client held a big reveal to their neighbors, the consensus was that they were all very pleased with how it would fit in and were excited about the project.
Sustainable Design & Materials
Sustainable design for the new Ronald McDonald House starts at the entry vestibule which is open air by the design of arched openings above and an open wrought iron gate on either end. After passing through the entry, visitors are greeted by the courtyard which is greatly shaded by the more prominent massing on the southern end. The integration of plenty of trees and open trellises in the courtyard allows for lessened heat gains. Impervious paving and drainage grates are utilized in the courtyard to allow for sufficient redirection of water. An interesting aspect of this project is the client’s stride toward getting as many materials, finishes, furniture, and equipment donated as possible. This was a great opportunity for subcontractors and the local community to get involved and participate in the building of the new House by contributing unused supplies and furniture that would otherwise go unused or to a landfill. This opportunity to reduce and reuse successfully goes hand in hand with these local businesses that would like to be recognized by the charity.
Green Building Designation(s)
Date of Completion
S Edmond St & O'Bannon Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89146, USA
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