Las Vegas, a city known for its disregard of sustainable practices, has recently recognized the design potential that a high-speed rail network could offer to the city. “Desert Xpress”; a rail line that would connect Victorville, CA, to Las Vegas, would help reduce energy consumption generated by cars and encourage public transit. Located along Route I-15 and adjacent to the famous Las Vegas Strip, the new High-Speed Rail Station would serve as a destination point for tourists and a new landmark for the city. The building would promote sustainability and low energy consumption by incorporating passive design strategies such as sun shading, thermal mass, and natural ventilation, as well as active design strategies such as photovoltaic panels, green roofs, and water conservation. The design intent is to recognize the importance of Transit-Oriented Design in America, especially in a car dependent city such as Las Vegas, by incorporating a multitude of uses integrated in one harmonious structure.
For additional information, please contact Brandon Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To me, a design concept is essential to every project, every design. Its what leads the design throughout the entire design process. My initial design concept is usually a simple thought then jotted down on paper in a sketch form. The sketch evolves into a series of diagrams, possibly further sketches and design iterations. The most important part about a concept is that it guides the design process; the designer is constantly referring to the concept when making design decisions and producing drawings.
For this project: The Las Vegas High Speed Rail Station, the concept was simple: taking a vertical motion of a hotel tower, combined with the horizontal motion of a railway, and creating a dynamic, fluid form that represents the comprehensive function of both elements.
situated along interstate I-15, the las vegas high speed rail station will serve as the main transit hub for las vegas, using the ‘desert xpress’ hsr line from los angeles. the use of hsr in las vegas will reduce vehicular traffic from california and encourage public transportation. the building is a monogeneous structure with a variety of program types ranging from a high speed rail station to a hotel and casino. the layout of these spaces was determined by the proximity of user function as well as the linear path brought on by the high speed rail. as the horizontal rail meets with the terminal and shopping center, the form in thrust upwards in a curvilinear motion. the point of collision becomes the node through which all the programs are connected. this massive atrium space is surrounded by a shopping center, casino, hotel, and terminal. together all of these programs are designed to work in harmony with one another for the betterment of the terminal station for which the design is based off of.
At this moment, there is only one high speed rail service in the U.S. It is Amtrak's Acela Express which runs on the NE corridor from Boston to Washington D.C. Barack Obama has made it clear that America needs to invest in HSR in the near future. In April 2009, as required by ARRA, the FRA released its strategic plan describing the agency's vision for developing high-speed rail in the United States.
The benefits of HSR are numerous, just check out some of the stats...
Faster, more efficient mobility, enormous energy savings, reduced environmental damage - a train system solves many problems:
For our studio project this semester, we focused on a HSR station in an American city. My group, which consisted of one other person, chose to study Las Vegas.
Why Las Vegas?
"Las Vegas is the second most traveled tourist destination in the U.S. behind New York City... Over 30,000 people drive to Las Vegas from LA everyday. Desert Xpress will cut that in half..."
"DesertXpress allows passengers to bypass traffic, traveling at speeds of up to 150 mph non-stop to and from Las Vegas in approximately 80 minutes compared to an average highway drive time of approximately 4 hours. Driving on I-15 can take several more hours during peak times, and longer with any accidents or other delays. DesertXpress alleviates congestion on the I-15, providing a better, cleaner, safer, and faster alternative to driving, and an unparalleled transportation EXPERIENCE."
There is already a station proposal underway for Victorville, CA. Our project was concerned with a HSR terminal station in Las Vegas. We wanted to make it a destination point. We knew that 1.) it had to be in proximity to Las Vegas Boulevard and 2.) it had to be along I-15 (the main highway that runs through Las Vegas. We investigated the site possibilities for a while, but finally chose a very large site, consisting of 2 parcels located directly across from Mandalay Bay.
Little did we know the criticism we would get from this site... At mid-term juries, a large discussion took place about our site selection. The main criticism was that our site was not along Las Vegas Boulevard. However, our argument was that it was actually closer than if we were to put it further south along LVB. We are even proposing to take the existing monorail and extend it into our building...
We strongly believe that the site we chose was a very good location for a HSR. Even our professor agrees with us. The argument is clear to us. We believe the HSR should be a destination point. And without going into the concept of the project (future blog) we believe it was a very successful proposal.
Brandon E. Young