You know how some buildings look so unusual, you just can’t figure it out…well, when I looked at photos of Frank Gehry’s Cleveland Brain Center in Las Vegas, I couldn’t understand how it could be a building for a medical clinic where real work happens and I couldn’t understand why it has to look so crazy.

So when we went to Las Vegas for the International Builders Show, we took a few hours and went to see it for ourselves. We asked the staff at the visitor’s desk of our hotel, and the bus driver how to get there. I was surprised that everyone seemed to know the building, felt proud that we wanted to go and see it, and they could tell us how to get there. I thought that said a lot!

We arrived by bus, and walked to the site….rather an unusual approach for a town designed for cars. And I fell in love! This is not your typical looking medical clinic, but I think it really fits the site, and according to the staff it is a great building to work in.

So what do I like about this building?

A series of folding planes and windows enclose the rental hall

I like how the corner of the site is filled with a large hall, which is rented out for various functions. On the outside, the curved shapes suit being on a corner, with cars zipping past.

On the inside, the Hall is a beautiful sun filled room. It is absolutely magnificent. Who wouldn’t want to hold their event in such a magnificent room?

At the back of the site is a 4 story office building. This is the Cleveland Brain Center. I like how the planes of the Center walls and the large irregular blocks of windows remind me of the mountains surrounding Las Vegas, and I like how the angular forms are a perfect counterpoint to the curves of the rental Hall.

The blocky angles of the clinic walls reminds me of the mountain landscape surrounding Las Vegas

In between the Brain Center and the rental Hall is a gently curving courtyard. Las Vegas is a sunny, hot, dry place, and the folded twisted shape of the screen perfectly shades the courtyard. I like the addition of some color in the courtyard, with turquoise, green and yellows added to some of the planes of the Center’s walls and the columns. I like the views through the courtyard to the Memory Garden beyond. And I like the changing shadows on the wall as the sun moves through the day.

The courtyard is beautifully shaded by the screen, with glimpses of the Memory Garden at the end.

Each part of the building adds to the whole, and each part feels like a beautiful little gem in it’s own right. I love everything about this building!

Detail of the sunscreen over the courtyard