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Las Vegas' Springs Preserve Visitor Center Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

Site Represents Community Building and Natural Resources in Southern Nevada

August 18, 2008 From American Institute of Steel Construction

Las Vegas' Springs Preserve Visitor Center has earned national recognition in the 2008 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and the entire project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction during a public ceremony in the rotunda of the ORIGEN Building at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve at 2 pm Tuesday, August 19. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2, awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include architecture firm Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects, Henderson, NV; owner/developer Las Vegas Valley Water District, Las Vegas, NV; structural engineer, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, R.L.L.P., New York, NY; MEP Engineers, JBA Consulting Engineers, Las Vegas, NV; structural steel fabricators SME Steel Contractors Inc., West Jordan, UT, an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator, and SME subsidiary, Southwest Steel LLC, Henderson, NV, an AISC member; general contractor J.A. Tiberti / Whiting Turner (Joint Venture between construction companies), Las Vegas, NV.

The Springs Preserve Visitor Center project is a Merit Winner in the category of Projects $15 million to $75 million, making it one of only three around the country to earn an award in this classification. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: Projects Less than $15 million; Projects $15 million to $75 million; and Projects Greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

"The Springs Preserve project is a very sophisticated use of steel which blends perfectly with the surrounding desert, as having emerged out of the landscape," commented Lucien Lagrange of Lucien Lagrange Architects, Chicago, a judge in the competition.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, the Las Vegas Springs Preserve is sited on a 180-acre tract of land three miles west of the city's downtown core. A life-sustaining water source in historic times, the springs were integral to the growth and urbanization of the region. Now owned and managed by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the site represents one of the richest natural resources in Southern Nevada. In developing a plan for a Visitor Center and related museum facilities, the Water District intended to create a community gathering place celebrating this significant cultural heritage.

The Visitor Center at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve is an interactive environment drawing upon the history of the site and surrounding Mojave Desert context. The facility utilizes sustainable, regional, durable, and recyclable materials including native stone walls, weathered steel siding, and energy efficient glass. As the Visitor Center is comprised entirely of exposed steel, concrete, and masonry structural systems, the contributions of the structural engineer were key in achieving the project's sustainability goals and helped the facility achieve LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The nine IDEAS2 winners for 2008 were chosen from more than 85 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals. Included among the 2008 winners in the $15 to $75 million category are: National Winner-the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA; and Merit Winner-the Oratory at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL.

The IDEAS2 awards are among the nation's most prestigious in the fields of architecture and engineering, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC's existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, "The entire Las Vegas Springs Preserve project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create buildings that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a facility that serves its city and community extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel."

To view images of Las Vegas' Springs Preserve Visitor Center project, please click here.

American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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