Las Vegas is best known for its gaudy Palladian-style villas, but architecture firm Marmol Radziner designed the opposite for casino magnate Jim Murren: an eco-friendly, modular retreat centred around a James Turrell ‘Skyspace’.
Situated in the Ridges, once home to Howard Hughes, the Arrowhead has an unparalleled view out over the flashing lights and brash antics of the Las Vegas strip. But here is where the gaudiness ends. The 2009 house – on the market via CrosbyDoe for $14.5m – is an elegant conglomerate of lines and cubes, featuring slatted walls, black seams, clean steel, glass and concrete, and intense blasts of colour.
For both architects and client, the focus of the project was to create an eco-friendly building with minimal construction time. With these considerations, ‘prefab was clearly the best and greenest way to go,’ Ron Radziner told Dwell.
The two-storey, C-plan house is positioned around a courtyard, sheltered from sandstorms. Inside are four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a double-height living room, dining pavilion, theatre and wine cellar. The eat-in kitchen has large windows that flow out onto wide patios overlooking the landscaped gardens, which are a functional blend of desert flora, herb gardens and fruit trees. The environment was a key element in the house’s construction – ‘I support the creation of buildings that have a positive environmental impact,’ Murren explained to Dwell, ‘and in Las Vegas I think you need to embrace the desert.’
Dotted around the house is a lap pool, a subterranean basketball court and a theatre, but at the heart of the property is the Turrell Skyspace, its off-kilter pyramid shape at odds with the functional symmetry of the house. The artwork creates a frame of the everchanging Las Vegas sky and landscape, a meditative proposition to have at the end of the garden.