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UNLV Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building

Awards Category

Institutional Architecture - Built

Project Summary

The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV is the first building for a proposed 9-acre academic health center for UNLV, located in the heart of the Las Vegas Medical District. The facility, approximately 180,000 gsf, serves as the permanent home of the School of Medicine, and is designed to accommodate a class size of 120 students. To support long term growth, the design allows for an expansion to increase the class size to 180 students with minimal disruption to the overall building. The program is designed to support the school’s forward-thinking approach to the curriculum and includes training spaces for clinical skills, simulation and anatomy - both virtual and cadaveric dissection - classrooms of various sizes which support problem-based learning, administrative offices, and a learning resources center.

Project Narrative

Despite years of explosive population growth, Southern Nevada has had a severe shortage of quality medical care. The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV represents a new era for medicine in the Las Vegas valley. The first building and permanent home for the School is a 180,000 g.s.f. five-story building organized around strong circulation spines, which help to connect students to the exterior and orient them to locations in the building, and the major building functions: Training, Learning, Community and Service. The Training floor serves as the building base and houses Clinical Skills, Simulation, as well as Virtual and Gross Anatomy training programs. The collocation of these training spaces is unique in medical education and will serve to distinguish the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. This P-shaped “superfloor” is a concrete podium supporting the 4-story tower above, and provides opportunities for secure outdoor gathering space. Community and Learning spaces are concentrated on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors, housing Student Life, the Learning Studios, Classrooms, and the Library. Those administrative functions that serve the students directly, or are related to Admissions, are located at the top of the Forum on the 3rd floor. The balance of the Serve function of the building, the Administrative offices and Dean’s Suite are located on the 5th floor. The massing of the building is oriented to maximize daylight and minimize direct solar gains with the integration of deep overhangs, brise soleil, and strategic glazing placement. The strong horizontality of the desert is emphasized in the building massing through the organization of the building cladding and glazing components, in particular the horizontal ribbing of the terracotta panels, which draws its inspiration from the jagged lines of EKG readouts. These panels also evoke the windswept sculpting of the walls at nearby Red Rock Canyon.

Sustainable Design & Materials

Overview: The project is seeking to achieve a LEED Silver certification, utilizing the LEED V4 for New Construction rating system. This project is registered through Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to document and track certification progress. Several strategies have been implemented to not only provide an energy efficient building, but also provide a pleasant wellness space for students, teachers, staff, visitors, and community. Energy Use Reduction: Preliminary energy analysis has been performed reflecting an overall energy use reduction from base building requirements (ASHRAE 90.1). The project currently reflects a 39.1% reduction in energy use over the baseline. Water Use: Plumbing fixture water use is reduced by 32%, and water efficient landscaping allows for a 56% reduction when compared to baseline building requirements. Wellness: Gardens adjacent to the building entry are designed to support an overall theme of wellness for the budding campus, each containing plants centered around one of three themes - mind, body, and soul. Additionally, a wellness path loops around the perimeter of the site. Materials such as high performance glazing, brise soleil, sun shades, exposed concrete, and a terracotta rainscreen system were selected for their sustainability, energy use reduction, and aesthetic beauty.

Project Stats

Square Feet


Green Building Designation(s)

pursuing LEED Silver

Date of Completion

October 2022

Project Location

625 Shadow Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89106

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