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UNLV Libraries Main Page -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections -> Las Vegas Architects and Buildings Database -> Projects

10 North Virginia Street Plaza Canopy

Photos & Links: (Web Page 1)
10 North Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
Completed: 2009
Contractors: Associate Theatrical Design: Westlake Reed Leskosky
Electrical / Mechanical Design: Westlake Reed Leskosky
Structural Engineer: Gelger Engineers
Architectural Elements: To incorporate a renewable energy source the canopy becomes a support for thin photovoltaic panels (non-silicon) which ideally face 15 degrees east of south. The goal is to provide enough energy to support the activities and events on the plaza. This design will be one of the limited number of Beta Test Site’s incorporating a cutting-edge photovoltaic thin-film technology. This technology is not silicon based rather it is all metallic alloy consisting of titanium, germanium, silver chromium and numerous other metals that make up a highly efficient energy producing system. The increased efficiency is due to this technologies capability to draw energy from the “whole spectrum of light” rather than the visible spectrum of traditional silicon PV based technology. The panels are less than 1/8 total thickness, back with carbon fiber structure and are predicted to have a lifespan of over 100 years with less than 10% degradation.The alloys are applied in approximately 50 layers, as a gas. These layers of alloy total less than the thickness of a human hair, hence a lightweight technology that does not require over-sizing the structure. It is expected that these panels will be 100% recyclable back into solar panels at the end of their useful life.
Description: Importance of site to community: The project site is located in downtown Reno, Nevada between City Hall and the Truckee River on the Virginia Street. From 1947 until 1982 the site was home to the historic Mapes Hotel. When built, The Mapes was the tallest building in Nevada and was also considered unique accommodating both a hotel and casino. As the premier hotel in Reno in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Mapes became the prototype for modern hotel/casinos and a “postcard for Reno.” Though it thrived throughout the 1970’s the Casino closed its doors on December 17, 1982. In1996, after years of decay, The Reno Redevelopment Agency took possession of the building, and in a controversial move condemned the building and demolished it on January 30, 2000.

Owner Desires: The city of Reno appropriated the site fro a public plaza to become an integral part of the Truckee River Lane Corridor Redevelopment. The canopy design must honor the importance of the site’s history, while giving back to the community a contemporary and functional icon for the City Plaza. The canopy must respond to this open activity space in the Urban district for community events. The deisgn must address the need of year-around use and all the various activities that will occur. During the spring, summer and fall the site will host community festivals and events; in the winter it functions as an ice rink. Furthermore, the design should make a statement to the community of environmental consciousness.

Programmatic requirements: Canopy- the canopy requires the maximum square footage for optimal shade during the summer and optimal overhead weather protection during the winter. Plaza- the plaza requires versatile open space to support a variety of uses and events in the summer, including theatrical audio and lighting demands, and an ice rink in the winter. Budget-restrictive!

Design approach: The canopy structure responds to the challenge of designing coverage of over 17,000 square feet with few supports that will enable the open space to remain effective for large events, flexible for performance seating, and cost effective. The canopy structure is designed with two support columns providing ample uninterrupted open space, while giving the maximum cover to shade the plaza during the hot summer months. The framework also serves as structure for the necessary audio/visual equipment and architectural lighting effects. The dramatic elegance of the structure is influenced by the structures of Santiago Calatrava albeit at fraction of the cost. The estimate construction cost is under 3.5 million dollars. To maximize that modest budget, standard materials and sizes are used such as steel sections for the structure and modular translucent polycarbonate panels for the canopy. To incorporate a renewable energy source the canopy becomes a support for think photovoltaic panels. The plaza and proposed canopy structure satisfy a myriad of programmatic requirements and give iconic resonance to the sire as a new “post card for Reno.”
Extra Note: AIA Nevada Design Awards (2007) Entry No. UB07005, Submission.
UNLV Architecture Studies Library holds: Form Core Boards, Project Identification Form, Photo Release Form, Intern Compensation Disclaimer Form, Project Entry Form, Exteriors Photos, Site Plan, Floor Plans, Interior Photos and CD