Gensler, selected by MGM MIRAGE as the Executive Architect on CityCenter, led the design team in delivering this 18-million square foot, city-scale mixed use development, the largest single development project in the world, from concept to completion in just five short years, an unprecedented achievement in the architectural world for a project of any kind.
Gensler used its deep resources and innovative project delivery approaches to work with every element of the CityCenter team to not just complete the project -- equivalent to 12 midtown Manhattan blocks -- but to create the world's largest sustainably-designed development.
Gensler's role leading the project's seven other design architects and hundreds of consultants is unique in the development industry, and sets a new level of expectations for the way to deliver large, complicated programs within compressed timeframes.
"This is the future of Las Vegas -- CityCenter is in an entirely new category," says Bobby Baldwin, President and CEO, CityCenter. "To achieve what we wanted, in the time span we wanted, we knew we'd have to bring on a single firm with unparalleled visionary talent that could undertake such an extraordinary effort. Gensler stepped up to that challenge and CityCenter is a testament to that."
DESIGN LEADERSHIP To realize the vision of a world-class entertainment, leisure and living destination, Gensler and MGM MIRAGE assembled a dream team of world-renowned architects, engineers and specialty designers. To achieve the non-negotiable December 2009 opening date, Gensler had to direct the work in an exceptionally streamlined and collaborative manner. For example, Gensler led a seven-week visioning charrette, an intensive shared design process, to create synergy among the design architects involved in the non-gaming district along the Las Vegas Strip, establish key goals and methods for designing the project's multiple buildings, and accelerate design to achieve the aggressive construction schedule.
SCHEDULE COMPRESSION MGM MIRAGE recognized the traditional process for project delivery would not suffice given the highly condensed timetable. In order to open by December of 2009, MGM MIRAGE challenged Gensler with establishing and facilitating an innovative, workable delivery process within the allotted timeframe.
Gensler quickly assembled a team of experts from across the firm to devise a delivery methodology that would break down the scale of this massive effort, organize teams for maximum efficiency, create a common set of principles and guidelines, and establish effective communications across the total project team. All design and documentation activities had to run in parallel and at a fast-track pace without sacrificing MGM MIRAGE'S project vision.
To create a 67-acre built environment that included four separate hotels, a retail and entertainment district, and residential towers in 60 months, Gensler worked with the MGM MIRAGE Design Group (MMDG) to develop documentation approaches that allowed certain building elements to commence early construction starts while others continued in design on a scale never before attempted. In addition to redefining and reinventing the design and delivery process, Gensler also was responsible for organizing and educating consultant teams on how building components could be designed and documented to meet CityCenter's intense schedule and rigorous deliverable requirements.
"CityCenter is the design equivalent of the Japanese game of 'GO', only in three dimensions. With all the components running in parallel, one modification could trigger dozens of impacts that had to be coordinated," says J.F. Finn, Gensler principal and CityCenter Project Executive.
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN Gensler also helped spearhead sustainability efforts at CityCenter, taking MGM MIRAGE's commitment to sustainability and goal of LEED certification and crafting the strategies and road map for achievement, and then leading a world-class team of sustainability consultants to generate best practices that have garnered six LEED Gold certifications for the various project components, making it the world's largest commercial "green" development.
Gensler leveraged 12 of the firm's offices to work on CityCenter, where Gensler's scope covered every aspect of the project. In addition to its design leadership role, the firm also was responsible for the design of the project's common areas, signage/wayfinding, much of CityCenter's branding and marketing collateral, and the design of the Automated People Mover, CityCenter's self-contained transit system that links the project to the neighboring Monte Carlo and Bellagio Resorts.
"CityCenter is the best example anywhere of a collaborative design process," says Art Gensler, founder and Chairman, Gensler. "We had our hands in virtually every aspect of this project and interfaced with every member of this massive project team -- from the developers, construction teams, engineers, designers, and of course MGM MIRAGE and its in-house design team. This was a colossal undertaking where the end result is a true testament to both the talent and the process."
CityCenter provides Las Vegas with a new urban core and global destination -- a city-scale development that is greater than any of its distinctive parts, yet timeless and authentic in its design. It is a true reflection of the talent and commitment of a diverse design team with a cohesive vision.