Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Rockwell Group

Crystals at CityCenter (2010)

Studio Daniel Libeskind,  Architecture

Rockwell Group, Interior Architecture

CityCenter Las Vegas

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CityCenter Las Vegas (2009)

On the Las Vegas Strip

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CityCenter Las Vegas is a $9.2 billion development on 76 acres on “The Strip” in Las Vegas. It is sandwiched between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio Resorts. (The Cosmopolitian Resort was constructed at the same time as CityCenter and is now open on a sliver of land between CityCenter and Bellagio). The Master Plan was designed by Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn Architects.

The main buildings in the mixed use development are the Aria Resort and Casino, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and residential condominium tower, Veer Towers residential condominiums, Vdara Hotel and Spa, The Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences, and The Shops at Crystals. The Harmon tower, originally designed to be 49 stories, but was only built to the 28th floor due to structural issues.  Although the distinctive multi-toned blue glass curtain wall exterior was installed. the interiors were never built out and the tower’s demolition is pending.

The buildings were designed by internationally known architects – at least the superstructure, building form and exterior curtain wall design. The list includes Cesar Pelli, Daniel Libeskind, Helmut Jahn, William Pederson, Rafael Vinoli, Sir Norman Foster and David Rockwell. The building’s interior architecture was mostly or completely designed within the superstructure by other architects to meet the needs of the hotel, condominium, retail, gaming and entertainment occupants.

I will include images and comments on each of the main buildings in CityCenter with separate posts. For links click on the names here: Aria, Mandarin, Veer, Vdara, Crystals and Harmon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the architects that worked on the Mandarin Hotel guest rooms, Mandarin residential penthouses, Veer residential penthouses, and Harmon residential penthouses projects.


Comerica Park (2000)

HOK Sports, SmithGroup Architects, and the Rockwell Group

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201

Aerial View and Map

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The home ballpark of the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park replaced the old Tiger Stadium in 2000. The ballpark grandstand is wrapped in a themed enclosure that fits within the downtown street grid. The Rockwell Group has added a themepark feel with supersized Tigers, and building elements constructed of oversized bats and balls. there are Pewabic Tile decorative panels and bands with dimensional baseballs. Even the light fixtures are illuminated baseballs…in the mouths of tiger head sculptures mounted at the top of each pilaster surrounding the otherwise fairly traditional brick facade.

Within the promenade surrounding the grandstands, the designers have integrated an entertainment focused experience with a ferris wheel (where the cars are baseballs) and a merry-go-round (with the animals being Tigers of course). To my taste, it all feels just a little “too themed”. Pewabic Tile is beautiful in it’s own right, and the old english “D” feels right with the handmade arts and crafts tiles and the long history of the Detroit Tigers Team. The half round ceramic baseballs, laces and all, in the borders just seem a little too much to me. But then again, I am no longer a kid, and Disney seems to be pretty successful with mouse ears integrated in all aspects of their developments.

The photos I took this weekend are a sample of the exterior of the ballpark. The Tigers are away in the playoffs, and the stadium is being readied for the home games in the series. Maybe next year I can post photos of the inside of the fan friendly stadium, but I am afraid this years playoff games are all long sold out – and I do not have any tickets.

One advantage to the ballpark being integrated into the downtown urban fabric is even without tickets you can still enjoy the energy of the live ballgame. Just across the street and Grand Circus Park, is Angelina Italian Bistro. The exterior glass walls open up during good weather, so even without tickets, you can sit in the shadow of the ballpark lights, hear the roar of the crowd live, while watching the game on TV. (and the beer is cheaper than in the ballpark!)

The Official Tigers Web Site

Rockwell Group – Comerica Park Page