Destination Universitas design, Chetwood Architects, Nevada desert architecture, US building news

Nevada Desert building : Architecture

Lake Las Vegas Resort Building, USA design by Chetwoods Architects, UK

post updated August 30, 2023

Scheme at Lake Las Vegas

Design: Chetwoods Architects


Location: Lake Las Vegas Resort

April 16, 2008

Destination Universitas: a unique desert refuge where world leaders may discover clarity and personal renewal.

Destination Universitas, Lake Las Vegas building
picture from architect firm

Nevada Desert Architecture

The design was unveiled today for a $300,000,000 sanctuary for world leaders in the Nevada desert. The drawings were commissioned from UK architect Laurie Chetwood of Chetwood Architects and architect/artist Doug Patterson of Patterson Buxton by founder/director of the Universitas Leadership Sanctuary, Donna Vassar.

Set in a 65 acre oasis-type landscape in the Lake Las Vegas resort, Destination Universitas plans a unique sanctuary specifically created to embrace and challenge leaders from all areas of life to reconnect with their unique purpose in life. There will be conferencing/speaking facilities but visitors will be encouraged to keep things informal in order to benefit from the relaxing atmosphere.

The Universitas Leadership Sanctuary will be dominated by a six storey high sphere that sits above the dam at the easterly end of the nearly 4000 acre Lake Las Vegas community, located 17 miles east of downtown Las Vegas. Visitors will arrive via the canyon below the dam, navigating a labyrinthine pathway, which leads them upwards until eventually entering the awe inspiring sphere. During the day, the sphere will be visible for miles around, glinting in the sunlight, while at night it will become a glowing beacon of light shining out across the landscape.

The entire complex will be designed sustainably. Around the sphere, giant flower-like structures will open to collect solar energy from the sun during the day; while hydro and wind power will be harnessed to provide power. The majority of accommodation will be insulated by the thermal mass of the dam and passively cooled and ventilated.

Laurie Chetwood enthused, “The desert like conditions mean that we can use the climate’s extremes of heat and natural light during the day and the temperature drop at night to the best advantage.”

“The emotional reasoning behind the labyrinthine approach to the globe is that worldly issues are to be left behind and free thinking encouraged. Built into, and cascading down the sloped earth sides of the dam wall, are areas for accommodation and contemplation.”

Ms Vassar was afforded a unique platform with leaders providing her with the contacts and experience necessary to establish this project to serve mankind and describes her plan as a vision to establish a global project that will provide a private leadership sanctuary, “We will create an individual journey to the highest place within, enabling world leaders to reconnect with their unique purpose in life. They emerge renewed, with clarity, and reflecting true transformation.”

The total construction value will be circa $300,000,000 (USD) and the project will take about 30 months to build once begun. Destination Universitas is a private foundation and educational trust.

Destination Universitas Lake Las Vegas image / information from Chetwoods

Chetwood Associates

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Destination Universitas – Website: n/a