Landscape architect Donald Brinkerhoff and the team that designed The Mirage will be honored for their contributions to the field of casino resort design this week at the annual Casino Design 2005 convention at Wynn Las Vegas.
Brinkerhoff will receive the 2005 Sarno Lifetime Achievement Award for Casino Designer, and the design team for The Mirage will receive the 2005 Sarno Lifetime Achievement Award for Classic Casino Design Team.
Named for industry legend and innovator Jay Sarno, who created Caesars Palace in the mid-1960s, the Lifetime Achievement Awards are the most celebrated of the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Casino Design Awards, and the only awards that specifically recognize excellence in casino resort design and construction."Don Brinkerhoff and his Lifescapes International team have led the casino design world by example, creating unique and exotic landscapes that have contributed to the lasting image of the Las Vegas Strip," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. "Lifescapes International was a member of the revolutionary design team that created the first-ever destination resort and casino, The Mirage, and we are proud to honor both Don and the entire Mirage design team for the tremendous impact their creativity and vision have made in the field of casino and resort design."
It is commonly accepted that The Mirage transformed and rejuvenated the Strip when it opened in 1989. At the time, Steve Wynn called it a "true destination resort that happened to have a casino in it."
Led by Wynn, then owner of Golden Nugget Enterprises, a talented group of design professionals was assembled and empowered to create, according to Wynn, a "south seas island paradise in the middle of a dry, arid desert climate."
It took three years to conceive, create, build and deliver what is now regarded as one of the most beautiful destination resort casino hotels in the world.
Bringing a cascading waterfall and an exploding volcano to life outside the resort, as well as creating a luxurious rainforest oasis for guests on the inside required a level of creativity and teamwork unmatched at its time, Fahrenkopf said.
The integrated design team set the standard for all future projects on The Strip and involved hundreds of individuals. The core design team included Steve Wynn, Atlandia Design Group, Marnell Corrao, Lifescapes International, Henry Conversano and Associates, DHL Lighting, and Siegfried and Roy.
Brinkerhoff has operated his own landscape architectural firm since 1958, and many of his innovative techniques have become today’s industry standards. His importance to the field was recognized in 1998 when he became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the profession’s highest peer-awarded honor. Brinkerhoff and the team at his award-winning firm, Lifescapes International, Inc., have been involved in 15 leading projects on the Las Vegas Strip, including the new Wynn Las Vegas, as well as casinos across the nation and around the globe.
In addition to the presentation of the Sarno Lifetime Achievement Awards, the luncheon on Thursday will feature the announcement of the winners of 17 Gaming Vision Awards, encompassing the best projects in architectural design, interior/exterior design and construction.
Each entry for the Gaming Vision Awards is judged on its own merits by a panel of distinguished individuals selected for professional expertise in design, planning and construction. Judges evaluate each entry based on unique and original thinking; compatibility and harmony of the project to its environment; consideration of geographic and climatic conditions; use of appropriate or innovative building forms and materials; inclusion of meticulous and inventive detailing; striving for special and unique design solutions to the positioning sought after and the success achieved.