Frank Gehry’s a hit in Vegas. Construction on his design for the 67,000-square-foot Lou Ruvo Brain Institute began in February. It is the 78-year-old architect’s first building in Sin City.
When it opens in late 2008, the new five-story institute will contain clinical, research, and outpatient exam rooms for brain-disease patients, plus offices and a 400-seat banquet hall. Additional elements include a Wolfgang Puck cafè as well as a two-story, 5,000-square-foot “Museum of the Mind” featuring interactive educational displays. The 1.9-acre complex, located at Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway, is being built on land donated by the city as part of its 61-acre Union Park urban development scheme.
“This is the beginning of the Renaissance,” mayor Oscar Goodman said at the groundbreaking. “This location will bring attention from all over the world.”
A curvy, undulating metal-and-glass trellis, rising 75 feet high, will screen the institute’s banquet hall, while a series of stacked blocks separated by glass-enclosed spaces will form the main entrance. This contrast of forms suggests the dual functions of the brain: simultaneously ordered and chaotic, structured and yet imaginative.
The institute plans to rent its public areas at night and on weekends to help meet operating expenses. The Keep Memory Alive Foundation, a nonprofit that supports research into the causes of brain disease, will fund the project’s $70 million construction price tag. This group was founded by Larry Ruvo; the institute’s new building is named after his father, who died of Alzheimer's disease.