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

Desert Art Museum

Photos & Links: (Web Page 1)
5850 N. Park St.
Las Vegas, NV 89149
Completed: 2008
Size (sq. ft.): 10800
Owners: Rita Abbey & Dr. Robert Belliveau
Contractors: Architects: EV& A Architects
Interior Designer: EV & A Architects
Spec Writer: Spectra Consulting
Structural Engineer / Electrical Engineer / Civil Engineer: Wright Engineers
Architectural Elements: 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.
Description: 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.
Extra Note: AIA Nevada Design Awards (2007) Entry No. UB07009, 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