Gehry Partners LLP
A model shows the new $70-million, 67,000-sq-ft. Lou Ruvo Brain Institute planned for downtown Las Vegas.
Luetta Callaway
Architect Frank Gehry and developer Larry Ruvo discuss building plans at a Feb. 9 groundbreaking event.

The complex is being built on land donated by the city of Las Vegas as part of its 61-acre Union Park redevelopment project. The institute plans to rent out its public areas at night and on weekends to help meet its operating expenses. The project is funded by the Las Vegas-based nonprofit Keep Memory Alive Foundation for brain disease research, founded by Larry Ruvo, Nevada's senior managing director for Southern Wine and Spirits. The building is named after Ruvo's father, who died of Alzheimer's.

"We didn't design a one dimensional building," says Ruvo. "It's going to be a revenue source for research." The building's banquet hall will be covered by a wildly curvy, undulating metal-and-glass trellis that reaches up to 75 ft tall, while the main entrance will consist of stacked building blocks separated by glass enclosed spaces. The contrast suggests the dual functions of the brain, simultaneously ordered and chaotic, structured and imaginative.

The institute is scheduled to open in late 2008.

rank Gehry is the newest act to play Las Vegas. On February 9, the architect broke ground on the new $70-million, 67,000-sq-ft Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in downtown. It’s Gehry's first Vegas building. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, is the general contractor for the 1.9-acre complex at Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway. The five-story building will feature 13 clinical, research and outpatient exam rooms for brain-disease victims, plus offices and a 9,000-sq-ft, 400-seat banquet hall. There will additionally be a Wolfgang Puck cafè and catering kitchen as well as a two-story, 5,000-sq-ft "Museum of the Mind" with interactive displays. Other amenities include a resource library, a conference room and a multi-purpose area.