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Stage Cue: A New Gateway to the Las Vegas Arts District

Awards Category

Academic Project

Project Summary

How can art and architecture, in unison, serve as a catalyst to the revitalization efforts in the Las Vegas Arts District? Looking at the entirety of the project not as a building and street development but as a sensitive public art project. The chosen site is used to inspire other artists, visitors and residents: giving the area and its people more energy could influence them to come together and feel a sense of ownership and responsibility, bringing art back to the people and bringing art back into architecture, when art becomes the expression of beauty and emotion that enables human interaction. The proposed design embodies this belief and seeks to create human-centric spaces/moments that celebrate the unique cultural identity of the Las Vegas Arts District. Overall, the intention of this work is to create a design that unites art and architecture to celebrate the beauty of human expression and create a space that truly belongs to the people.

Project Narrative

How important is it for the city of Las Vegas to have a successful Arts District? For any community to have a vibrant downtown or a creative area, an Arts District is necessary. One that holds amenities for it. It comes down to economics; such a district should hold strong historic preservation laws to demonstrate to the public that Las Vegas has a heart, soul and history. This district is essential for the future of downtown and the city. Utilizing the central area of the Arts District as a starting point, a series of sketches were created, exploring the site and context. Studying the unique features and thinking about how placement, orientation and alignments can be exploded and celebrated. Las Vegas was founded in 1905 as a railroad town along the union pacific railroad's Los Angeles and Salt Lake City line. The railroad played a critical role in the city's early development, providing a means of transportation for people and goods; it helped establish Las Vegas as a regional center for commerce and trade. When the railroad arrived in Las Vegas, it laid its tracks parallel to the city's original grid, which was oriented along a North-South axis. However, in order to accommodate the straightest run of track through the flat valley, the railroad shifted the grid 27 degrees off north. Today, the diagonal grid remains a defining characteristic of the city's urban form and development, and the city's railway history is still visible in its built environment. Celebrating the grid shift became an anchoring element for the project. How will the project sit in the surrounding urban fabric? Charleston street which separates the district and starts the grid shift can be used to bring it together. Designing right in this intersection will encourage the project to bring history and present together, for a celebration of the community through art. Within the site will sit a main structure that will evoke an airy feeling and which holds the industrial characteristics of the surrounding site. With the intervention on this specific site, doors are opening for not only tourists but to the local community to foster a sense of place and identity. As the design developed it began to be seen as a “stage”, so programmatically letting creative people use the spaces creatively. With its placement and concept, the proposed design becomes an anchor and gateway to a district with a large amount of potential. The project gives the opportunity to create a sense of place that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of DTLV. By incorporating public art, creative/ educative areas, and exhibit spaces, the design could not only attract visitors to the district but also provide opportunities for local artists and cultural organizations to showcase their work. This contributes to the overall vibrancy of the district, making it a more attractive place to live, work, and visit. Generating economic benefits to the area, as increased activity and foot traffic can lead to increased business activity and revenue.

Sustainable Design & Materials

The elevated anchoring structure/canopy guides the overall design. It does a playful dance between the sun and itself. This structure becomes a celebration of our climate, as we acknowledge it, appreciate it and most importantly, compromise with it, and within that compromise life takes form. The proposal includes allowing the public to walk beneath the canopy, creating shaded plazas for various events like festivals, concerts, markets, protests, and art installations By using the canopy structure as a platform for public art and creative expression, it becomes more than just a shelter from the elements; it becomes a space for people to gather and connect with each other and with art.Public art adds a human touch to the environment, making it more inviting and engaging. This transformation turns the structure from cold and impersonal to dynamic and lively, encouraging interaction and creativity. It inspires people to linger and engage with the space, rather than just passing through. Durable materials like board formed concrete and blackened steel will withstand the Vegas heat and age gracefully. The bold red stairs provide a striking contrast to the natural surroundings, enhancing the visual impact of the project.

Project Stats

Square Feet


Green Building Designation(s)

Date of Completion

May 2023

Project Location

1 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104, USA

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