Gallery: IS IT GREEN?: Las Vegas CityCenter


The CityCenter mega-resort opened last month to fanfare, press, and a fireworks display fitting of a 67-acre 8.7 billion dollar gamble sitting on the Las Vegas Strip. The project surpassed its original sustainability goal of LEED Silver to score an impressive six LEED Gold Certifications (with another one on its way), and it was the recipient of the US Forest Stewardship Council‘s best commercial project of 2009. However Las Vegas is a desert, and in this resource-constrained site we couldn’t help but pull back a bit of the star-crossed blinds and ask how deep does the green really go?

Quite frankly we wouldn’t expect anything less than LEED certification from the project’s star-studded architectural design team, which includes Pelli Clark Pelli, Kohn Pederson Fox, Helmut Jahn, RV Architecture LLC led by Rafael Vinoly, Foster + Partners, Studio Daniel Libeskind, David Rockwell and Rockwell Group, and Gensler.

We were mesmerized by the organic spa treatments and the non-toxin filled air in a relatively odorless casino floor, but couldn’t help but question why such a huge desert development doesn’t have a single solar panel on it. And while we ran our fingers over recycled glass block and eyed bamboo-sheathed columns we couldn’t help but notice the luxurious addition of some rare and not necessarily sustainable materials. And although we would continue to help ourselves to the in-room Aveda products, we have to ask if it’s necessary to replace once used toiletries and towels that were neatly hung back on the rack and still have self-branded water bottles?


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  1. redrock January 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    To the best of my knowledge, as a Las Vegas resident and practicing Architect, the major casino projects on the Las Vegas strip do not use water from Lake Mead. Most have pre-existing well water rights from the historic desert ranch properties that they replaced. A concern should be to make sure that these large urban projects are doing their best to recycle this water and to recharge the existing underground aquifer, offsetting their water use as much as possible.

  2. manny January 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Looks fantastic…my one concern..where will the water come from in the future?
    At present all the water serving Las Vegas comes from nearby Lake Mead. For the past 10 years the levels of this lake has been declining. If it contines to decline at present rate, then in less than 12 years Lake Mead will be a dust bowl!

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