Desert Aviation Center Remodel

Las Vegas, Nevada

Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration

Submitted By: Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects

Owner: Haan Development

Lead Design Firm: Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects

General Contractor: AJB General Contractor

Structural: Wright Engineers

The $798,000 Desert Aviation Center at the North Las Vegas Airport is a completely transformed 1970s building, including office and hangar space, landscaping additions, parking lot improvements and energy-efficient LED lighting to replace outdated exterior incandescent fixtures.

Delivered in December 2021 below budget and on schedule, the building is now the front door to the VGT airport, highlighted by an exterior kinetic screen façade that incorporates a graphic of an airplane silhouette. The screen comprises 1,000 movable recycled aluminum flaps set on a 1-ft grid; each 6 in.-by 6-in. The flappers are set in motion by varying winds, creating a dynamic composition that emulates aeronautics.

The concepts of “Reuse” and “Restore” motivated the design. The existing building is simplified throughout with use of a dark colored plaster resurfacing system, making it recess in the composition. Held in place by steel, the kinetic screen activates the façade, unifying the composition.

The team confronted three challenges. The first, at the design phase, required balancing intent against cost with the airport, the Clark County Dept. of Aviation, the architect, owner and the North Las Vegas Building Dept.

The second was renovating a decades-old building that had not been well maintained. In addition, COVID-19 impacted teamwork, coordination and job progress, with all parties adapting to new working conditions, including enhanced safety protocols.

Third, the KINETICWALL system required exact measurements so that the manufacturer could first produce a physical mock-up for the owner, architects and contractor to review before approval, fabrication, flatbed delivery and successful installation.