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CityCenter Las Vegas

When you visit the website for the newest major development in Las Vegas, you are taken on a stomach-dropping virtual sweep up, over, around and through the new city-within-a-city funded by MGM Mirage and designed by a bevy of starchitects. CityCenter takes up 67 acres in a city already packed with casinos and hotels. But, the project's representatives says, "In sharp contrast to the rest of the Strip, the architects created a development of pure, unadorned modernism."

7 crystals exterior

For those of you lamenting the possibility that this development might not offer the over-the-top bells and whistles typical of Vegas, we have assurances from Alissa Walker who is reporting live from the grand opening, that "hot pink watersparks" are in full effect, alongside Cirque de Soleil performing on trampolines to an Elvis soundtrack. Also in attendance this week are some of the project architects and designers, the long list of whom includes Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Helmut Jahn, Cesar Pelli, Rafael Vinoly, Maya Lin and more.

watersparks

Breaking records as the largest private development in US history, CityCenter is also working to raise the bar on sustainable building, which could seem surprising given that it's a massive cluster of luxury buildings in the middle of the desert. But as a wise associate reminded me recently, if you're going to do a project like this, it's a lot better to approach it with sustainability in mind. The development has its own power plant that uses cogeneration to product both electricity and heat. Inside there are high-efficiency bulbs, low-flow plumbing and Energy Star appliances, outside there multi-glaze windows and white roofs. Renewable materials were used whenever possible. According to the folks at CityCenter, the amount of energy they saved by approaching the design in this way "is equal to the average annual power use of 7,700 homes."

With these strategies and many others, including a dedicated mass transit system and an integrated recycling plan that includes the reuse of water, they anticipate a LEED Gold certification for the entire development. But of course that's probably not the main reason to visit. The main reason is to experience Vegas packaged in the work of some of the world's most admired modern architects. If you really fall in love with it, you can even live there.

Sparks photo by Gelatobaby (aka Alissa Walker)

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