Rather than putting a strip in the middle of the desert, why not take casinos straight to a source of power and water at the Hoover Dam? Architecture graduate Stephan Sobl designed the Vertical Strip for his graduate studies at University of Applied Arts in Vienna while exploring lightweight structures. The upside-down skyscraper is composed of lightweight carbon-fiber suspended from a concrete cantilever and wrapped with a shade-providing spiraling metal shell. Latching on to the side of the canyon, the tower is suspended above the Colorado River with views both up and down the canyon and of the Hoover Dam.
The conceptual tower would provide a casino, a hotel, a boxing ring and a concert hall with all the same amenities and luxuries as a casino on the Las Vegas strip. Located between the dam and the bypass bridge, the upside down skyscraper is accessible to both cars and pedestrians from the adjoining road. As told by Sobl, s graduate project was an exploration of “the interplay of opaque massive surfaces capable of incorporating poché and lightweighiht, fragile structure.”
Guests of the hotel and casino arrive via the cantilevered plynth, which holds the main programmatic areas like the lobby, casino, event space and boxing ring. The descending tower holds hotel rooms culminating in a dramatic area at the bottom of the tower for ceremonies and special occasions that also include a high end dining area with glass floors to see the Colorado River below.
The tower is composed of three elements: a massive concrete structure formin the cantilever for the hanging tower; a lightweight hanging tower, and a metal shell embracing the structure. This metal shell provides shading for the rooms inside and encourages natural ventilation throughout the tower. Parasitic in nature, the Vertical Strip latches onto the canyon right at the source of the power and water, closer than Las Vegas and thus reducing losses through distribution.