Desert Living Center
Las Vegas, NV
The Desert Living Center, commonly know as the DLC, is a $40 Million facility located on the 180-acre Springs Preserve campus, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The project emerged from a desire for sustainability in a challenging environment and ecosystem. More clearly, the mission of the DLC is to promote sustainable living in the Mojave Desert. The center presents a variety of methods and ideas which are based both in history and from the observation of the natural world. Such information is intended to inform visitors of the ways in which they can adapt their lifestyles to align with their environment. (Source UNLV AIA records)
The DLC architecture consists of five main buildings and several small structures which are all integrated into the landscape and function as sustainable exhibits. Each building has different sustainable characteristics to experiment with the effectiveness of the different design principles. The facility is LEED Platinum Certified from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Lucchesi Galati, the architect of record, worked to insure that the buildings and gardens work seamlessly with the numerous education programs and varied interpretive experiences. The DLC interacts with the local environment at every opportunity. The site is orientated to maximize solar orientation, taking advantage of both the heating and lighting benefits of the sun. Architectural design also considered cooling, stormwater collection and reuse, and minimal mechanical systems. Essentially, the design relied upon passive sustainable design principles whenever possible.
NSI, well versed in passive and energy efficient design, was able to contribute a beautiful onsite wastewater treatment system. The system included a primary treatment tank, constructed wetlands, a recirculating sand filter, mechanical filtration equipment, and an irrigation system. The system was designed to produce reusable water from the blackwater collected in the Springs Preserve buildings. The treated grey water is reused within the DLC and the gardens to reduce potable demand.
The projects great success is the seamless integration of architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering. A visitor is surrounded with the myriad of sustainability experience. A visitor can sense the possibility of change at the Desert Living Center. The centers goal of helping members evolve from being “in the desert” to being “of the desert” is realized. (Source UNLV AIA records)