| Architecture Studies Library
Entry number: UB07009
The design approach was to create an art gallery and museum for the exhibition of local artists' work that is both a reflection of and a part of the desert environment in which it resides. The museum was to be highly sculptural without impacting its ability to function.
Unexpected edges and juxtapositions characterize this gallery addition to a local artist's existing home and studio compound in rural Las Vegas, Nevada.
The program includes a large, open art gallery connected to the existing studio complex and an outdoor sculptural garden where larger sculptures will be exhibited.
The ten acre site in the northwest comer of the Las Vegas Valley is in an alluvial plain and can experience annual flooding of great concern to the artist and her work. The new gallery and perimeter wall deflect flood waters from the west giving the owner her required peace of mind.
Like many inhabitants of this harsh environment, the gallery emerges from the desert floor drawing its shape, color and texture from its surroundings, symbiotically forming a respectful relationship with the site. Barely visible at one end and fully revealing itself at the other, the folding exterior shell, like an exoskeleton, provides protection from the harsh desert sun while narrow slits in the shell allow slivers of light to penetrate the interior, creating a playful and dynamic lighting scenario for the artist's sculpture as the light illuminates the undulating, cavernous walls.
The sustainable practices employed for the Desert Art Museum are largely time-tested passive design strategies for our unique desert environment. This includes orienting the building to limit & control the infiltration of the harsh desert sun and its heating effects. Of utmost importance is protecting the artwork displayed within the gallery, while still permitting the sunlight to enter the space, taking advantage of passive lighting strategies and maintaining a connection to the outside environment. Where permissible, the design allows for indoor/outdoor galleries and sculpture courts which ultimately reduce the building's overall footprint and conditioned envelope. The portions of the building that have larger areas of glazed facade are primarily north-facing or facing into a courtyard and will also be glazed with the latest in Low-E glazing technology. To create an aesthetically pleasing site, while keeping the natural desert landscape, the design limits landscaping improvement to strips along the site of drought tolerant trees and plants, with the idea that the remainder would remain untouched.
Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos
These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.