Award Winner - May/June 2004
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Paradise Park Recreation and Community Services Center
Las Vegas


S u b m i t t e d    b y:

JVC Architects in Las Vegas

Size: 28,000 square feet

Project cost: $4.8 million

Quick tour:

  • Gymnasium
  • Multipurpose room
  • Arts & crafts room
  • Fitness room
  • Dance studio
  • Child enrichment area
  • Offices
  • Neighborhood services

Over the years, a lot of the recreational benefits at Las Vegas' aged Paradise Park had been lost or lacking.

"It was an existing, old, linear park that had gone through numerous modifications," says Roy Burson, principal with JVC Architects in Las Vegas. "In this area of town, it became a necessity to build a park and rec center as well as a neighborhood services center."

Plus, at only 14,000 square feet, the old rec center in the park was just too tiny.

"Basically, with the number of programs, we were just running out of room," says Patrick Almeido, Paradise's program supervisor. "And there was a community demand for more sports and gymnasium space."

So Clark County decided to build a new recreation center within the existing park—and one with a design more befitting the name Paradise. You could say the new building has turned out quite divine.

"It's centered around four basic design elements," Burson explains. First, it includes a connecting sidewalk along the building's east-west axis, which solved a longtime problem of the park's linear layout that had segregated the neighborhoods immediately to the east and west. The sidewalk ends at the reception counter, reuniting the community at the central node of the building's cross-axis.

"Second, there's a large, yellow, curved, inverse-battered courtyard wall that rises toward the entrance that's like a hand reaching to the community," Burson says. The wall features a combination of plaster and perforated steel panels, which are mounted on exposed framework at the upper part of the wall. During the day, the panels are opaque. At night, they illuminate from within and are transparent and act as a beacon.

The third design element is the two juxtaposed grids along which the facility is organized. The gymnasium, oriented along the true north grid, provides access to outdoor basketball courts via four 16-foot-high glass sectional roll-up doors.

"These marry the interior and the exterior," Burson says. "The building becomes part of the park and vice-versa."

The fourth design element is the custom handprint tiles on wall accent strips strewn throughout the main lobby made from the handprints of children in the community.

"It helps give a sense of ownership to the neighborhood," Burson says of the one-of-a-kind tile artwork. In fact, the whole rec center was designed to be a perfect fit into the community.

"Some of the aesthetic and design concepts come from some older buildings in the area; we wanted to keep in character with the neighborhood and its history," says Burson, referring especially to the "butterfly" roof form used on the gymnasium and Community Room, which is a stylistic interpretation derived from the 1960 residences of the Paradise Township. "That type of architecture was indigenous to that part of the valley," he says.

Almeido says the new building has brought about a 30 percent to 100 percent growth in program participation, with program offerings jumping from about only 30 classes to now more than 80. Meanwhile, the new fitness center has about 1,100 users per month.

Despite the obvious expansion, Almeido says the new building was purposely designed to be suitably large but not massively mega in size. Likewise, planners also were able to preserve some mature trees on the site with this design.

"From a recreation center perspective, we're only at 28,000 square feet, but we wanted a center that fit the park and the community," he says. "It fits perfectly. It's not overwhelming."

J u d g e s '   N o t e s

"Some wonderful interior features such as the handprints on the walls. The interiors are colorful, interesting and fun. Exterior has a great combination of textures, colors and shapes. Great addition to the community."

Christell Leonard

"A unique indoor/outdoor experience of spaces."

Kenneth Ward

"Excellent compliment of recreational program offerings in a compact allotment of square footage. Philosophical and physical connection of neighborhoods through the building's main cross-axis. This facility is truly a beacon and testimony to the community. The building has a beautiful and harmonious presence on the site, with a consistent level of quality incorporated from the siting of the building to the finishes within. A strong connection to the neighborhood."

Tom C. Poulos

A s s o c i a t e d    F i r m s


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