Libeskind opens his act today in Vegas

    Now in Vegas you won't just see

    No, there's a new culture on the Strip. Daniel Libeskind opens today in Vegas, starring in "Crystals" - that's the name of his Las Vegas A-list retail and entertainment complex:

    There it is in the foreground left in a photo I took about a week ago. You can't mistake the Libeskind brand for another. Libeskind's line of shops for Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli, Ermenegildo Zegna, etc. - looks like he dolled up and performed cosmetic surgery on

    an old western Frontier Village.

    Daniel Libeskind, told the L.A. Times about this great mega-project in Vegas of which he is a part,
    My first impression was 'This was either completely crazy or the greatest project in the world. It turned out to be the latter."
    The Vegas mega-project opening this month is CityCenter, featuring acts by Norman Foster + Partners - the blue curving building in the upper right - sort of a "London Gherkin"-lite, but capturing the colors of the desert sky and turning them into something like cinemascope; you can also see Gensler, Kohn Pederson Fox and Associates, Rockwell Group, Rafael Vinoly and Pelli Clarke Pelli perform. The names of architecture designers like the names of handbag designers like the names of Vegas acts, it's all the same. Helmut Jahn's act actually leans towers into a "V". The all-residential "Veer Towers" - "V" for "Veer" and maybe also "Vegas"?

    Why, Jahn "sounds like" Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas!" Oh, part of this mega-project is Viva ELVIS™, a permanent show dedicated to the icon. That's it, that's what CityCenter reminds me of! Did you see this year's season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm? The one with the Seinfeld show reunion? Seinfeld is talking about the cast and says, "I'm an icon! He's an icon! She's an icon! He's an icon!"

    Icons all around.

    It's a good joke on TV, but not a good way to plan cities. "I'm an icon! That building is an icon! Next to us is another icon! Every building here is an icon!"

    Remember Robert Venturi's sketch from "Learning from Las Vegas"

    We need a new one: "I AM AN ICON" over Libeskind's Crystals.

    CityCenter - 8.5 billion dollars, 18 million square feet, 6,000+ hotel rooms, 42 lounges, restaurants and bars, 4 spas, and almost 900 of us can live there - that's how many residences will open. Call it the largest privately funded construction project in North America. With billions of the dollars invested by our good friends at Dubai World.

    But don't worry - most of CityCenter gets a LEED Gold rating for sustainability. In the desert?

    Dubai is/was sustainable too.

    CityCenter broke ground five years ago, since then the sands have shifted under it. It went through near-bankruptcy and a myriad of legal problems. It made it through. Many projects don't. We must really want this.

    Next: a new building in Vegas that seems to be curling up like an old shoe left out in the hot desert sun. Frank Gehry does Vegas.

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