In our city that never has a shortage of celebrities, we found ourselves star-struck at the feet of one of the greatest architects of our time, Frank Gehry. At this year’s Winter Market 2018, we had the privilege of attending a forum where Frank was awarded 2018 Design Icon and was interviewed by Vegas’ own Larry Ruvo (Vice President and General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada).
It was fitting that Larry conduct the interview because it was he that finally brought Gehry to Las Vegas. Known for his disruption to the architectural status quo, Gehry had already turned down several project opportunities from a myriad of potential clients, including Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson, the Kerkorians and even Terry Lanny who was responsible for City Center. When Ruvo requested a meeting with Gehry, Frank said he dreaded it. But the tables swiftly turned, as Ruvo’s proposal illustrated not only a unique chance to change the Vegas narrative, but to influence medical history. The project? The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. What it accomplishes? The Center operates as an outpatient treatment and research facility in downtown Las Vegas on land deeded to Keep Memory Alive.
Approximately 65,000 sq ft, with 13 examination rooms, offices for health care practitioners and researchers, a “Museum of the Mind,” and a community auditorium, the Center also serves as the headquarters for Keep Memory Alive, the Las Vegas Alzheimer’s Association and the Las Vegas Parkinson’s Disease Association. Inspired by his personal friend Milton Wexler and the presentation tactics of Larry Ruvo’s wife, Frank ultimately agreed to the venture. With the words of Vegas’ Mayor Oscar Goodman ringing in his ears, “Build it like nothing that currently exists here,” Frank went to work. Finally, inspiration struck as he played with the idea of no two pieces being alike.
Each piece of the LRCBH was fabricated in different countries in different ways; with the end result being one of the most acoustically sound structures ever constructed. Because of Gehry’s vision, the world’s greatest doctors have felt the pull and attraction to Las Vegas, with the global medical impact far beyond our scope of comprehension. Speaking to the audience of his iconic nature, Frank said, “Stay true to your differences and let them direct you; don’t look at others. One day, someone will like those differences.” We sure do Mr. Gehry. We sure do.