|By Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Review-Journal|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 12, 2005 - The architect responsible for the 1,483-foot Petronas Towers in Malaysia and numerous award-winning structures throughout the United States will design the primary component of MGM Mirage's $4.7 billion Project CityCenter.
Cesar Pelli, a Connecticut-based architect whose firm, Cesar Pelli & Associates, has collected more than 40 honors from the American Institute of Architects, will design the centerpiece of the 66-acre Strip development, a 4,000-room hotel-casino with a contemporary theme.
Pelli has designed hotels and residentil projects in Japan, Europe and the United States, including the Solaire and 731 Lexington office building in New York City.
An associate of Pelli said the architect was enticed by Project CityCenter because of the scope of the development.
Project CityCenter, to go up between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo, is expected to include 18 million square feet of development in its first phase, including the hotel-casino, three 400-room nongaming boutique hotels, 550,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment, and 1,650 high-rise residential units.
"There are zero preconceptions about what should be built," Gregg Jones, an associate of Pelli, said Monday. "The hotel-casino will be the part of the master plan that interconnects with all of the project. We will take a fresh, contemporary look at this location and what it means to be a resort destination. There is nothing like this that has ever been done in Las Vegas, and our friends at MGM Mirage have some very refreshing ideas for this site."
Jones said Pelli would design just the hotel-casino portion of Project CityCenter.
"To us the attraction is Las Vegas," Jones said. "It is a city that is evolving, and there is much for us to do there."
Pelli, an Argentina native who is the former dean of the Yale University School of Architecture, designed the twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur that were completed in 1997 and are considered two of the world's tallest man-made structures.
According to his company's Web site, Pelli has worked with corporate, government and private clients to design public spaces, museums, airports, laboratories, performing arts centers, academic buildings, hotels, office and residential towers and mixed-use projects.
Pelli designed two Southern California architectural icons, the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and the 777 Figueroa Tower in downtown Los Angeles.
In 1991, the American Institute of Architects selected Pelli as one of the 10 most influential living American architects. In 1989, the company was the recipient of the Institute's Firm Award.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Pelli hinted that his initial designs for Project CityCenter could include two 60-story glass towers.
Pelli becomes the second renowned architect to add his signature to the Las Vegas skyline. Las Vegas city officials announced last month that award-winning architect Frank Gehry would design an Alzheimer's disease research center to be built downtown.
MGM Mirage officials have said the company will take most of this year and 2006 to master-plan and design Project CityCenter, with construction not expected to begin until 2007.
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