Last week, architect Rem Koolhaas, co-designer of the Wyly Theater in the Arts District, suffered the loss of his major hotel in Beijing — one of the signature buildings of that city’s new skyline. It burned down. Now it’s Sir Norman Foster, the architect behind the Winspear Opera House, who got a major hotel design of his in Las Vegas “reduced.” Not “reduced to ashes” but the Harmon Hotel’s originally planned 49 stories have been cut nearly in half to only 28 stories. The buidling was intended as part of CityCenter’s “gateway” to the Strip.
The Las Vegas Sun reports:
That is the result of construction flaws — 15 floors of wrongly installed rebar — that forced MGM Mirage, which is developing the project with Dubai World, to rapidly call for a significant reduction of the nongaming boutique hotel. MGM Mirage canceled the Harmon’s 207-unit condominium component — the top half of the building — and postponed the opening of the hotel to late 2010.
Bleep happens, of course. Every architect has a story, a nightmare tale, of hair-raising contingencies and last-minute changes in plans. MGM Mirage downplays the effect at the Harmon, arguing that the height will scarcely be visible from the street.
But architects not associated with the project say there is no disputing that CityCenter’s grand and gracious addition to the Las Vegas skyline has been compromised.