MGM Grand Hotel/Casino/Zoo


I translated concepts of procession and promenade from the Prison.Break project into the spatial experience of moving through a zoo. In particular, my inquiry explored how containment and surveillance could stretch conventional spatial arrangements and address the spectacular and uncanny through the making of volumetric and tectonic experiences.

I chose the MGM Grand hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip due to its existing Lion Habitat. I wanted to move the animal’s location from the casino level into the hotel, creating the problem of simultaneously housing these two unlike occupations: human and animal. Las Vegas is notorious for its constant reinvention, the tearing down of the old and the building of the new. This project acts as a typological study of reinvention and reinvigoration in Las Vegas.

I looked to the “Intake Promenade” of the warm-up project as a precursor and organized the zoo circulation along an experiential progression: from treetops, to land, and to water. The resultant “zootel” is a fantastical journey juxtaposed with the banality of typical hotel typology. There are three main conceptual headings that define the experience: “Air,” “Land,” and “Water.” These zoo categories weave
in and out of the hotel: Up in the AIR, both animals and visitors find themselves in the blazing Vegas sun, in contrast to the dim, climate controlled interiors that are typical of the buildings along the Strip; On LAND, visitors dine and animals graze in gardens and green terraces; Under WATER, both occupants enjoy cool, relaxing atmospheres where aquatic habitats are punctured by swimming pools.