Clark County Government Center

Clark County is home to Las Vegas and a sprawling metropolitan area. With a constant inflow of new residents the County desired to create a new administrative center including all county offices, courts over the counter services, and amenities that would increase a sense of community. The project was released for an international design competition, won by Civitas and Fentress Architects.

The concept was to create a large outdoor community room for events and performances, gardens, shady ways to walk from building to building, all connected to a large interior atrium space that recalled a drum, or native kiva. The site was a railyard with heavily compacted and caliche soils, very little rainfall and temperature extremes. The design surrounds the outdoor room with a circular pergola that connects to the building, the major shaded walkway, the community room/cafeteria, and the

Commission Chambers. This unifying element is the only place on site where irrigated lawn is used in a terraced amphitheater that seats 3,000 on grass. Wired for sound and lighting systems, and supported by a back of house in the Commission chambers, the amphitheater has become a popular venue for performance, theater, dance, music and community festivals with as many as five events per week.

The entire 80 acre site is connected by a spine of 400 Mondell pines sitting in a field of crushed stone, supported by a continuous trench of planting soil, underdrains and low water irrigation systems. The remainder of the site is planted in the spotty pattern typical of the Las Vegas desert and inspired by the landscape of the Valley of Fire nearby.

Client: Clark County
Collaborators: Fentress Architects
Completed: 1997
Budget: $80 million