DESERT LIVING CENTER & GARDENS AT T H E S P R I N G S P R E S E RV E “... a fertile ground where culture embraces sustainability...” Primary Location Constant 36°10’11.19”N • 115°11’23.28”W Mojave Desert Las Vegas, NV
2011 WMR DESIGN AWARDSPROJECT DESCRIPTION FORM - Page 1 of 2Name of Project: Desert Living Center at the Springs PreserveProject Identification Number: WMRB11061Project Category (choose one) - Distinguished Building Awards- Recognizes significant achievements in the planning, design and execution of recent BUILT projects. Unbuilt Design Awards – Recognizes achievements in architectural design for commissioned projects that may or may not be built.Type of Project: Public WorksCompletion Date: June 2007Type of Construction: New ConstructionMaterials Used: Straw Bale, Rammed Earth, Stratified Concrete, Reclaimed Lumber, FSC-Certified Glu-Lam BeamsBuilding Area: 54,000 sq. ft.Statement of Design Approach:The five principal buildings incorporate many sustainable characteristics, yet each building is different to experiment withthe effectiveness of each design principle. Some sustainable design strategies as related to the LEED Platinumcertification are addressed as follows:• Sustainable Sites: Bike racks and alternate fuel vehicle parking are provided. Light-colored roofing and paving reduceheat islands. Over 60 acres of desert and wetlands have been restored on site. All lighting is designed to reduce lightpollution.• Water Efficiency: Irrigation systems are water-efficient. Black and gray water is treated and reused onsite. Waterlessurinals and water-efficient fixtures are used throughout.• Energy Atmosphere: Mechanical systems achieve a 40% to 50% reduction in energy use and are free of HCFC’s andHalons. Photovoltaic power and solar water heating are used to reduce grid dependance.• Materials Resources: Building materials use recycled content and are locally sourced. Materials also are of rapidlyrenewable crops and from certified sustainable forests. Recycling collection bins are placed onsite.• Indoor Environmental Quality: All indoor materials and coatings meet VOC limits. Individual occupants can controllighting and operable windows, and all regularly occupied spaces provide daylight and views.• Innovation and Design Process: The buildings are designed to educate the community on Sustainable Design. The DLC reflects the local environment at every opportunity, beginning with solar orientation to optimize the lighting andheating benefits of the sun. Submerging parts of the structures below grade utilizes the earth as a thermal insulator.Above ground, 24-inch rammed earth and straw bale walls resist heat gain or loss, while roofing designs promote watercollection and interior daylight. Engineering systems are minimized due to rapid degradation of technologicaleffectiveness and high power consumption. So the buildings mostly use passive sustainable design principles (ex.operable windows, cooling towers, day-lighting, and solar hot water) for robust and efficient operations. The gardens and other landscaping areas included many unique and sustainable techniques. Many of the Mojave nativeplants are from seed collected in the Las Vegas Valley and most of the native cacti and native yucca species weresalvaged from developing local areas. Artificial wetlands produce reusable water from sewage collected at the SpringsPreserve. The treated grey water is reused within the DLC and gardens to reduce the need for potable water.Additionally the use of photovoltaic cells fixed throughout the site produce sustainable electricity.
2011 WMR DESIGN AWARDSPROJECT DESCRIPTION FORM - Page 2 of 2Name of Project: Desert Living Center at the Springs PreserveProject Identification Number: WMRB11061Narrative (Limited To 400 Words):Located in Las Vegas, the Desert Living Center (DLC) is a $40 Million facility on the 180-acre Springs Preserve campus.The 54,000 square foot center and 8 acres of gardens strive to create a unique sense of place while serving as a catalystfor individual and community change from being “in the desert” to being “of the desert.” The center consists of five mainbuildings and a several small structures all integrated into the landscape and function as sustainable exhibits. Eachbuilding has different sustainable characteristics as to experiment with the effectiveness of the different design principles.The facility received a LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The DLC promotes sustainable living in the Mojave Desert, showing visitors how to adapt their lifestyles to a desertenvironment. The DLC honors historical sustainable principles developed by other life living within similar environments.For example, the Anasazi Indians oriented structures around solar optimization, and used thickened walls to reduceheating and cooling needs. Additionally, the desert tortoise burrows into the earth for cooling. The buildings and gardens work seamlessly with numerous education programs and varied interpretive experiences.Forty three (43) hands-on interactive environmental exhibits, twenty (20) static sustainable design principles exhibits, twotemporary galleries, four classrooms, a dialogue center, library/research center, design lab and a technical training studiooffer educational opportunities to communicate a vision of sustainable life in the desert, and form the core of a compellingarray of experiences and stories aimed at helping people make intelligent choices which contribute to a sustainable futurein the Las Vegas Valley. The 8 acres of botanical gardens are integral to the educational purpose with the use of over1,200 different species of plantings help to demonstrate many sustainable concepts that are displayed throughout thegardens. Mojave native plant communities are the core of the botanical garden collection with some other Southwesternclimates also being represented. There is even an Enabling Garden; one designed specially for blind visitors. Manyexhibits educate homeowners and professionals about their own landscaping. The DLC and gardens are grounded as a physical manifestation of sustainable facilities that create a vehicle foreducational interaction and dialogue. This interaction with the structures, exhibits, gardens, and other people will serveas a cultural and social contribution toward living sustainably within the Las Vegas Valley and creating a moreharmonious relationship with the surrounding Mojave Desert.
CONCEPT STATEMENTLocated within the 180-acre Springs Preserve site, the DesertLiving Center (DLC) is an interactive-based public outreach andapplied research facility designed to “promote sustainable lifein the Mojave Desert.” Through dynamic, ongoing free-learningeducation programs, the 54,000 s.f. center and gardens striveto create a unique sense of place while serving as a catalyst forindividual and community change from being “in the desert” tobeing “of the desert.”The campus consists of five main buildings and series of smallauxiliary support structures integrated into the landscape anddesigned to function as full size “sustainable architecturalexhibits.” The five principal buildings have similar architecturalcharacteristics to integrate with land and adapt to the hot desertclimate with minor variations from building to building. The purposeof this is to allow the buildings to address different sustainabledesign principles and measure their effectiveness at each buildingand to be used as comparisons to one another. Building featuresinclude but are not limited to the following; earth berming, roofconfiguration, exterior wall building materials, light shelves, cooltowers, solar hot water heaters and radiant floor heating.The goals for the Desert Living Center are grounded in a physicalmanifestation of sustainable facilities as well as in creating a vehiclefor educational interaction and dialogue. This interaction with thestructures, its exhibits, the gardens, and other visitors will serveas a cultural and social contribution toward living sustainably inthe Las Vegas Valley and creating a more harmonious relationshipwith the Mojave Desert.
“This fragile desert jewel offers its resources to the community, with the hope that strength, beauty and inspiration may grow from it.” DESERT LIVING CENTER
Administrative/Retail Center ARCHITECTURE THE LAND Dialogue Center The design approach was grounded in constant and stable timeless building strategies that define the “place” of the project and allow for flexibility to meet future owner, visitor, and community needs. The Desert Living Center honors the historical and cultural precedents of sustainability principles through applied research of other historical structures based on solar orientation and use of thickened walls Solar Calendar Gathering Space as thermal mass to reduce heating and cooling needs. Cool towers and courtyard Microclimate Exhibit designs have been used in Middle-Eastern countries of similar hot arid climates for over a thousand years. Rotunda Galleries The basic design reflects the local environment at every opportunity, beginning with latitudinal/longitudinal solar orientation to optimize the benefits of the sun as a Sustainable Living Center lighting and heating source, then designed for climate conditions and the physical environment. This concept continues underground, utilizing the earth as a thermal insulator for the structures by integrating the buildings into the land. The design Design Lab then carries above ground where the mass, thickness of walls, and depth of openings assist in protecting heat gain and loss. This is capped by using Constructed Waste Water Wetlands long roof overhangs to protect the buildings from summer heat gain while allowing the low sun of winter to03 4 Desert Moon Amphitheater Watering Can Amphitheater warm the interior spaces. Frame House Tool Shed Desert Living Center Gardens 200 100 50 0
D E S E RT L I V I N G C E N T E RFIRST FLOOR PLAN 1 9 4 23 A 4 7 3 4 1 6 8 4 8 19 21 17 E 20 22 11 D 16 8 4 8 9 3 8 24 C 18 10 B 25 15 4 4 11 9 14 12 A ADMINISTRATIVE/RETAIL CENTER 1 office 10 meeting room 18 food preparation 13 3 B DIALOGUE CENTER 2 conference room 11 lobby 19 sustainable home C ROTUNDA GALLERIES 3 restrooms 12 docent lounge 20 design lab 4 D SUSTAINABLE LIVING CENTER 4 storage 13 docent work room 21 technical training studio E DESIGN LAB 5 security 14 reception 22 desert moon amphitheater 9 6 courtyard 15 temporary exhibit space 23 garden plaza 7 elevator 16 solar calendar gathering space 24 loading 8 cool tower 17 “a day in your life” sustainability 25 drop off64 32 16 0 9 mechanical yard gallery
D E S E RT L I V I N G C E N T E R SECOND FLOOR PLAN 22 5 1 A 8 8 2 4 6 7 3 6 12 18 8 17 9 13 D 16 E 18 9 14 1 18 18 7 8 7 3 8 3 19 3 C 4 21 4 20 5 4 15 22 4 B 10 A ADMINISTRATIVE/RETAIL CENTER 1 office 10 classrooms 19 loading B DIALOGUE CENTER 2 conference room 11 lobby 20 drop off C ROTUNDA GALLERIES 3 restrooms 12 “nature exchange” 21 receiving 8 D SUSTAINABLE LIVING CENTER 4 storage 13 welcoming gallery 22 electrical room E DESIGN LAB 5 break room 14 reception 6 courtyard 15 temporary exhibit space 7 elevator 16 resource library 8 cool tower 17 library garden64 32 16 0 9 bridge 18 overlook
ADMINISTRATIVE/RETAIL CENTER Straw Bale Construction “To inspire communities to sustain our land and embrace our culture.” - The Springs Preserve Mission
Nature ExchangeA hands-on experience for children to learn, discover and interact ADMINISTRATIVE/RETAIL CENTER with nature and The Desert Living Center its effect on the used rice straw bales, environment. an agriculture waste product, for two of the five buildings on site. The straw is an outstanding natural insulator which minimizes the heat load on the building and reduces the amount of wood framing needed. Administrative Office
DIALOGUE CENTER Passive Evaporative Cooling The cool towers serve as the primary cooling system, capturing warm desert air, funneling it through moist pads and into the room, naturally cooling the building.
SOLAR CALENDARGATHERING SPACEEntry to the sustainability and temporary galleries.
SUSTAINABLELIVING CENTER Rammed Earth Construction Layers of local dirt are shoveled between forms and compacted down, slowly building the rammed earth walls.
The Design Lab offers Las Vegasresidents and design professionalsthe inspiration, strategies andtools they need to influence thefuture of their communityand environment. DESIGN LAB Rammed Earth Construction
WELCOMING GALLERY The Welcoming Gallery features a scale model of the center. Visitors can also pivot touch screen monitors to explore the 3D model and watch flash animated explanations of the sustainable building techniques used on the site.
Various interpretive sculptures wereincorporated into the buildings and site.They highlight the energy-saving INSIDE/OUT GALLERYaspects of the architectural design,such as natural ventilation, solarangles, and reclaimed water.
SUSTAINABLE GALLERYThe exhibits illustrate the benefits of recycling, conservation and alternative energysources in a fun and interactive environment for adults and children of all ages.
SITE GARDEN FEATURES Integrated into the DLC buildings are five acres of gardens demonstrating desert-appropriate water and energy conserving design solutions. Garden exhibits are used to further Mojave Desert education in areas of conservation and protection of natural resources, landscape planting design and irrigation. “The garden must be prepared in the soul first or else it will not flourish.” - English Proverb
Waste water wetlands system for the entire Springs Preserve site is located in the Desert Living Center Gardens. The wetlands cleans waste water which is pumped back into buildings to flush toilets, saving potable water.DESERT LIVING GARDENS Constructed Wetlands
TRANSFORMATIONWith over two million valley residents, Las Vegas is the world’s largest cityincorporated post 1900. Today, we survive on a division of water rightsamong seven states and Mexico established by the Colorado River Compactof 1922, a time when Nevada’s population was less than 80,000. To protectthis limited natural resource, this project was built to educate and transformour community from being “in the desert” to being “of the desert.”AFTER OPENING• More than 800,000 people have visited the Preserve’s museums and galleries.• Approximately 200,000 have attended a special event at the Preserve.• More than 100,000 students have participated in field trips, making thePreserve the most visited attraction in Las Vegas for K-12 school groups.• More than 1,000 local teachers have receive professional developmenttraining and the tools to conduct self-guided tours of the facility andenhance classroom and curriculum.• More than 150 Eagle Scout projects have contributed to the ecologicalrestoration of the site.• Volunteers have contributed more than 102,500 hours of service.• The Springs Preserve works closely with the Clark County SchoolDistrict, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Reno, the College of “A true conservationistSouthern Nevada and other community organizations to develop andmaintain curriculum that reinforces classroom studies and engages is a man who knows that the worldstudents throughout practical application.• Free, interactive field trips led by staff and docents include pre- and is not given by his fathers,post-visit curriculum developed for grade-specific audiences. Tour andactivity themes include animals, sustainable practices, water, plants, but borrowed from his children.”archaeology, architecture and adventure. - John James Audubon