Introduction to Architecture & Urban Planning


Choosing to interpret the class focus of “building a better community” literally, we look to architecture and urban planning. We believe that physically well-built cities thrive and have the most to offer. Both beautiful and diverse, we see Las Vegan architecture as a reflection of the many cultures and attitudes of the Las Vegas community. 

Exploration of this section theme should help you appreciate architecture and urban planning, particularly that of the Las Vegas valley. The Las Vegas Strip draws from many styles of architecture, ranging everywhere from ancient Greece and Rome to the modern New York City skyline. Beyond the Strip, one can find more serious buildings with thought-provoking themes, like Frank Gehry’s Center for Brain Health, a postmodern masterpiece that will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come. Like the Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas’ architecture is fluid, constantly changing, and unique.

We encourage you to discover–or rediscover–what architecture and urban planning contribute to our city and how they shape our cultural identity.

Frank Gehry’s Center for Brain Health

Meet Our Writers:

  • As a Southwestern city, Las Vegas is home to many Native Americans. Sean Connelly’s list of Native American architectural sites in Las Vegas is a great launching point for anyone interested in learning more about the Native American community.
  • Culture, history, and architecture are intertwined, as Natalie Ramos reminds us in her essay about the Morelli House in Las Vegas. Homage to “Old Vegas” and the triumphs of mid-century modern architecture, the Morelli House is more than just a building.
  • Every city needs an efficient transportation system. Unfortunately, not every system works well. Theresa Schill, an avid user of public transportation and a commuter to UNLV, proposes ways to improve transportation of Las Vegas.
  • Las Vegas is, first and foremost, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Hilary Williams lists several impressive spots on the famous Las Vegas strip and explains the architectural merits of each.
  • Sometimes both locals and newcomers overlook the importance and history of Las Vegas’ previous tourist sites. Cameron Yana profiles a site known as Vacation Village, a former development where Town Square is now located.
  • In an easy-to-read infographic, Stephanie Berry offers statistics and facts about Fremont Street, an exciting part of Las Vegas beyond the Strip that many tourists and locals miss.
  • While the themed hotels and casinos of Las Vegas are revered worldwide, not all of them are equal in quality. Ana Bru addresses the problems of the Circus Circus hotel in particular and proposes solutions.
  • Not every building in Las Vegas is new. Consider the Huntridge Theater—a historical movie theater in danger of demolishment. Olivia Cruz argues in favor of the theater’s preservation.

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