Anchors Away My Boys, Anchors Away

Illustration courtesy of Yacht Island Design

Illustration courtesy of Yacht Island Design

Twenty years or so ago, someone, possibly an architect, a casino owner or maybe even a marketing person decided casino buildings were dull and to attract new customers and set themselves apart from the masses something more exciting should be built to house the slot machines and table games.   A rash of non-buildings or initiations-of-some-other-building buildings sprung up on the Strip; pyramids, circuses, castles, pirate ships, space places, New York City, Paris and Venice all found a place in Las Vegas.  The trend ran it course and now ultra-modern and daring architecture is more the fashion.   No other gaming jurisdiction followed suit, in fact, except Dubai, no other place on earth has quite the unique variety of architecture that Las Vegas has; the does not always equate to critical acclaim.  Over the years Las Vegas has found more than its share of critics, moral, artistic and architectural – cheap, cheese and plebeian are some of the ways the city is described.  And yet right up until the last new, leading edge project, CityCenter, Las Vegas was still pushing the envelope in everything, performance arts, food, retail and architecture.

In the last month, Vegas has gotten some competition from an unlikely place: the ocean.  First there was an announcement of an underwater hotel – an idea that is not likely to come to Vegas soon.  And lastly, another water born idea – a mega yacht built to look like a place; an island that can be navigated – for short quick trips it has its own mini-yacht so one can run to town for groceries or a quick rendezvous.   The first concept is Monaco – that is a $1.1 billion yacht designed to resemble the streets of Monaco – no word yet on the casino or James Bond.  There are other designs under consideration – but Monaco is first.  No buyers yet – it will only support a group of 15 or 20 bon vivants, so servicing the debt with blackjack tables or slot machines is no more likely than CityCenter services its debt with either of those.  And while neither the underwater hotel or the Streets of Monaco have been built, I see a trend here – in a hundred years we will – oh, wait you and I will be dead – but some of the people around then will be floating on or below the waves, not as a brief vacation, but as a permanent home.  I wonder where a person would go for a long run?


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January 2011
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