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Clark County Government Center

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1992–1995, C. W. Fentress, J. H. Bradburn and Associates. 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy.
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • Clark County Government Center (Bret Morgan)

The massive county government center rises out of the flat valley in geometric masses clad in native red stone. Located on a section of the old Union Pacific Railroad Yards, across the tracks from downtown, the complex reflects a new trend in Las Vegas—the belief that public architecture should be first class. Instead of looking to downtown or the Strip, the Denver-based architects drew inspiration from the expansive desert landscape. They also used classic forms—pyramid, tower, and amphitheater—to refer to the historic public function of architecture. Sections of the building curve around a large circular entrance plaza, bordered in part by a portico that evokes Native American brush shelters. The cafeteria is housed in a large pyramid suggesting those of Central American civilizations or North American mound architecture. In the center of the main building, between higher and lower office wings, is a lobby tower ending in a spiral parapet. The landscaping of palm trees and low-lying desert plants against a backdrop of reddish-pink gravel helps to soften the unadorned building.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Clark County Government Center", [Las Vegas, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 215-216.

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