Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center

Las Vegas Nevada USA 

Architects Line and Space LLC

Red Rock Canyon is located just west of the city of las vegas, and is distinguished by its series of large sandstone rock formations. visited by more than two million people each year, red rock canyon is popular among hikers, cyclists, rock climbers and all round adventurists. the valley is protected by the american bureau of land management and is recognized as a national conservation area.

Set against its dramatic natural landscape of sandstone peaks, the red rock canyon visitor center is designed to defer at all times to its mountainous surroundings. ‘[the center] differs from traditional visitor centers by emphasizing the specific attributes of red rock canyon itself, in lieu of pseudo-natural imitations,’ explains line and space. true to its name, the architect evokes the natural setting of the building using straight lines and controlled interplay between interior and exterior spaces, an effect caught deftly in pygmalion karatzas’ photographs.

A number of resource conserving operations have been integrated into the building’s design to support its existence in the desert, including photovoltaics and the first institutional use of transpired solar collectors. in addition to this, exhibits are relocated from air conditioned interiors spaces to fully day lighted passive/active tempered microclimates.

Pygmalion Karatzas’ photos lend a dramatic air to the center, and accurately document the journey of shadow and light over the face of the building. a dialogue between natural and built environments is evident, with the ever present plants, clay, sky and mountains encroaching onto and amplifying the physical intervention of the visitor center itself. ‘here, visitors receive an introduction to the relevant science, art and culture that will enhance their experience in red rock canyon, strongly encouraging them to visit the beauty of the real thing nearby.’


[text by Peter Corboy / designboom]



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