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The 30-second Architecture Critic: Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World rendering
Resorts World rendering

Southern Nevadans are breathing a sigh of relief over the impending demise of the half-built Echelon eyesore, which has served as a grisly reminder of the building boom gone bust since 2008. Malaysian-based Genting Group, which recently paid $350 million for the property, has unveiled a planned $2 billion-plus Asian-themed mega-resort complex, to be called Resorts World Las Vegas. If the real estate implosion has taught us anything, it’s that building for building’s sake isn’t always a good thing. And adding another 3,500 rooms to the city’s already bloated room inventory could shatter a fragile economic recovery.

Architecturally, the project is a letdown. It has a clichéd appearance with ubiquitous glass towers made popular in the 1980s, surrounded by pagoda-style low-rise buildings, reminiscent of Spring Mountain Road’s Chinatown. Strip theming was hot in the 1990s. The last two megaresorts on the Strip — CityCenter and Cosmopolitan — jettisoned the Disneyland approach for a contemporary architectural design that embraces place and identity, which is something the Genting Group proposal sadly lacks.