When researching a place it is easy to find research that is one sided and only learn about a small part of what is actually happening there. I felt like going into the trip I had a pretty good understanding of its history and what has made it into what it is today since I researched the history of the city. Once we got there, I learned about the history of Downtown Las Vegas, how architecture and outdoor landscapes can determine who and how many people use a site, and what incredible things are being done to rejuvenate Downtown Las Vegas.
Saturday we hit the ground running. We walked around the central Downtown area. Ken gave us a history lesson about the different time periods of the buildings and outdoor spaces. This walk opened my eyes to a new way of viewing the world. We really thought about why a building was built a certain way, how it made us feel being close to the building, how it felt being on a street with hardly anyone else on it, what the materials of a building did to the streetscape, etc. Traveling for other studios has allowed me the opportunity to walk different streetscapes but no one has ever pointed out why things feel a certain way. This may because we were suppose to figure it out on our own but having Ken explain why things were a certain way and then discuss if it was working or not was exactly what I needed to hear.
When walking by the container park, I noticed that the newly installed trees were being watered. At first the irrigation system looked like it was broken because the water was barely coming out of the heads sticking out of the ground, but after noticing it, I began to think. It made sense because it was essentially a drip irrigation system above ground to keep the runoff and evaporation rate as low as possible due to being in a desert.
When working on a design for this site, it will be important to keep the history of these sites but to bring in other amenities that people can use on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to taking the knowledge gained from this trip and putting it to use when conceptualizing what could be done in this currently rundown part of Las Vegas.