better buildings that use less. But, in my opinion, one
of the least recognized definitions of sustainability is
the responsibility of architects to design a building
that will not become outdated. Even if you put highly
efficient air conditioning systems in, solar panels on
the roof, use passive cooling, and all the current
buzzwords to get LEED accreditation, the truth is that
demolishing one building to build another is an
enormous cost of resources. All the materials from
the demolition have to go somewhere, and all of the
resources to bring materials to a job site is an
enormous tax on the environment. When we design
buildings, one of the most sustainable things we can
do is ensure that the building doesn’t become
outdated too quickly. We design in flexibility for
space to change and grow to allow owners to increase
capacity. This is a far more sustainable solution to
architecture than any point system could provide.
How have regulations changed over
your career and how difficult can
they be to adapt to?
There are many examples. ADA and accessibility
is one area that had definitely evolved and is an
incredible challenge to incorporate into a sports
stadium. They are not like office buildings, which
have flat floor slabs and elevator access to every area.
It’s good that we as designers are challenged to
find solutions to meet these requirements, but there’s
no doubt it’s more complicated in stadia where the
seating areas are sloped and stepped throughout
and sightlines are designed to a fraction of an inch.
But there are other regulations and requirements
that are evolving for the better too. The sustainability
and environmental demands of the building codes
and regulations get more strict with each passing year
as well. At the new NFL Raiders stadium in Las
Vegas, Allegiant Stadium, located in the middle of
a desert, we had to be very careful with the amount
of heat gain in the building, and the load that heat
would put on the air conditioning systems. If we were
designing and building under the codes 10-20 years
ago it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but now the codes
require us to minimize the energy required for cooling
in a more significant way. It’s good thing, and an
important consideration for our planet, but it does have
an impact on the end result and the constraints we are
given to work with.
Talk us through the Raiders stadium
project and designing for Las Vegas
It’s incredible to be a part of the Raider’s new brand in
Las Vegas. Las Vegas is such a great place to work. It’s
like an architect’s playground – anything goes in Vegas.
The location in Vegas was actually easier than some
of my other projects. Compared to, say, San Francisco,
which was challenging because of the site, the soil
conditions and its hyper-focused city planners. San
Francisco, obviously, has a more serious approach to
its style of architecture. In Vegas, we were able to create
something that’s completely unique and on-brand for
the Raiders. But it’s also right on-point for Vegas too.
Working with the team and owner Mark Davis, we
had a lot of fun designing the building. And it shows.
It will be an incredible building to experience. It will,
in every way, set a new benchmark for football stadia
around the world.
What has been the most challenging
project you’ve ever worked on?
To be honest, it’s usually the one I’m currently involved
with. As these projects become more demanding and
more challenging every year – what was good enough
for the industry five years ago is no longer good
enough today. The industry is constantly challenging
itself and the demands to get these buildings open
and profitable faster and faster increases exponentially
with every cycle.
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