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Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

A 65,000ft² clinical and research facility in downtown Las Vegas with a highly irregular and complex stainless-steel facade.

Our client’s challenge

The unusual architectural design is split into two distinct wings, representing the logical and creative aspects of brain function.

The ‘logical’ four-storey north wing, containing clinical facilities for Alzheimer’s patients, neuroimaging suites and clinical research, is formed of a tapering stack of splayed and chamfered rectangular boxes, clad in white render with glazed recesses.

Meanwhile the south wing, reflecting creative thought, is a sculptural stainless steel and glass structure, housing a large atrium used for public education and fundraising events.

Our approach

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff was appointed structural engineer on the building, and the team worked closely with the architect to create a building system that is as elegant and complex as the outer shell. 

The clinic building has a steel frame and composite concrete and metal deck floors, while a distinctive curved trellis cantilevers off the south side of this north wing to mark the transition between the two buildings of the complex.  

The structural system of the south wing Keep Memory Alive Center, is mostly self-supporting, making possible the large column-free space of the atrium.

Because of the irregular elevation of the clinic's north facade, accurate detailing of the steelwork and coordination with the architectural detail requirements was crucial.

The cantilever support structure of the curved trellis also created major detailing and analysis challenges because it had to accommodate large lateral seismic and wind forces. Virtually every steel connection, the majority of which were non-typical, had to be individually designed and fabricated.

Building Information Modelling was invaluable for coordinating the engineering and architectural design requirements. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's engineers used Digital Project, a 3D BIM package by Gehry Technologies, to design structural steel elements that would accommodate the complex geometry of various parts of the project.