When most of us think of Las Vegas, we think of the Strip, that dazzling stretch of lights and glitz and “what happens there stays there” mentalities. We think of casinos so fancy, so huge, that families even take children there to ooh and ahh at the fountains of Bellagio, marvel at the pyramid of the Luxor, or swim in the glistening pools of Mandalay Bay. The architects behind those fancy casinos deserve attention; those are beautiful, functional, and smart buildings. There’s more to Vegas, though, of course, in terms of commercial buildings. Many off-the-Strip buildings are impressive in their own right. Here we name the top 10 commercial architects in Las Vegas, some responsible for some of the glitz of the Strip and others making Vegas beautiful elsewhere. What they have in common is their passion and dedication to creating lasting structures for private and public use that look impressive on the outside and are also highly functional on the inside.

Top Architects

Simpson Coulter Studio

Sean Coulter and Wade Simpson

AIA Nevada Excellence in Design Award,
AIA Nevada Architecture Firm Award

151 Warm Springs Road, Las Vegas, NV 89119

About Simpson Coulter Studio

Simpson Coulter Studio is an award-winning architecture firm that has been designing since 1968. Their longevity has allowed them to hone their expertise in a broad range of architectural services from pre-design to construction administration. Overall, they strive to create relevant and meaningful spaces. Sean Coulter and Wade Simpson are principals of the firm, which has won many awards, including a 2015 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Nevada Excellence in Design award and a 2010 AIA Nevada Architecture Firm award.

Featured Projects

Their portfolio includes K-12 education, higher education, community, retail, residential, transportation, libraries, and hospitality. Commercial projects include Clark County Development Services, a Village Square Shopping Center renovation, a Lotus Studio addition, Athleticare Physical Therapy, Costello office, State Bar of Nevada and Perini corporate headquarters. The State Bar of Nevada – a licensing and policing agency that supports attorneys – outgrew their existing space in downtown Las Vegas and brought in Simpson Coulter Studio to design a new office environment. Simpson Coulter focused on the office culture and individual interactions in their design. They created a survey to ask about workplace culture; the results ultimately fueled their design: a high-ceiling public lobby opens to the office corridor above, and funnels into a smaller, semi-public lobby for the State Bar of Nevada. Translucent glass was strategically located to mediate between private and public spaces while maintaining the necessary light for a creative workspace.

SCA Design

Sheldon Colen
Gary Carlson

710 Coronado Center Drive Henderson, NV 89052

About SCA Design

SCA Design creates functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings. They’ve worked on high schools, restaurants, the community college, several casinos and custom homes. Check out Las Vegas Home and Design Magazine to see a selection of projects completed by SCA Design. The firm says the quality of their work combined with their focus on design ensures all of their customers – commercial and residential – leave happy. Sheldon Colen, RD, and Gary Carlson, AIA, have many years of architectural experience and success in Vegas. The two handle all projects from start to finish, which helps keep the project cost from exceeding expectations.

Featured Projects

When developer Roland Sansone of Henderson-based Sansone Construction announced in 2013 his plans to renovate long-time Vegas landmark The Boulevard Mall, he chose SCA Design as architect of record. Sansone purchased 56 of the mall’s 75 acres, which gave him about 780k square feet of the complex. The projected $25M overhaul of the 1.1M-square-foot complex included modernizing the mall’s exterior facade with an Art Deco style and adding new dining options. The mall opened in 1968. By 2000, however, major tenants had pulled out and occupancy dropped to about 75 percent. Thanks to the Sansone-SCA redesign, the space was close to 95-percent leased by 2015. SCA’s second project at the Boulevard Mall was the design of the now-closed Olivia’s Latin Cuisine Bar & Mariscos, a 5,318-square-foot eatery that offered patio dining and a Mexican-themed seafood menu. The restaurant, which opened in 2016, was part of Sansone’s plan to celebrate the region’s emerging latino community and to offer the mall’s patrons a modern dining experience.

JVC Architects

Jim Van Compernolle

5385 Cameron Street, Suite 15, Las Vegas, NV 89118

About JVC Architects

When Jim Van Compernolle founded JVC Architects in 1991, he had a vision of creating an atelier — or workshop — where every member of his firm could work closely together. Today, they do just that. Licensed in Nevada, California, and Arizona, JVC Architects specializes in commercial, religious, institutional, and public work architecture. They offer a wide scope of services, including programming, master planning, needs assessment, architectural design, and construction administration. JVC’s goal is to create architecture that inspires and motivates. The firm’s highly qualified team include accredited professionals in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and members of the Council of Educational Facility Planners.

Featured Projects

Their projects include Desert Inn Medical Complex, Saffron Restaurant, Paradise Park Recreation Center, Sandy Valley Senior Center, Salvation Army Hope Chapel, Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, and Heritage at Cadence Recreation Center. JVC completed Desert Inn Medical Complex in 1999. Featuring modern architecture that welcomes motorists passing by on Rainbow Boulevard, the complex features an 11.5k-square-foot outpatient surgery center and 4,600-square-foot medical offices, additional medical office space, and a state-of-the-art physical therapy facility — all designed by JVC Architects. The building material features rich earth tones, chosen to complement the desert environment. The exceptional design earned JVC a 2002 Southwest Contractor Award.

Steelman Partners

Paul Steelman

HOSPY Award for Best Casino Space,
HOSPY Award for Best Buffet,
Preservation Design Award,
and a Casino Design Award for Best Overall Interior Design for a Casino.

3330 West Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas, NV 89102

About Steelman Partners

Based in Las Vegas, Steelman Partners is an international architecture firm specializing in profitable, entertainment-based projects. They say their team of architects, designers, planners, and artists is committed to “redefining the entertainment, hospitality, resort and gaming industries with experiences that create value, inspire fun, and leave an impression that enriches … lives for the better.” Created in 1987, Steelman Partners was ranked the 91st largest architectural firm by Architectural Record Magazine in 2016, and they were on Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firm list. After college, founder Paul Steelman worked for his father, who was also an architect, before going to work for Joel Bergman and Steve Wynn. He helped with the Mirage Resorts and then founded his own firm. Steelman Partners has won many awards, including a HOSPY Award for Best Casino Space, a HOSPY Award for Best Buffet, a Preservation Design Award, and a Casino Design Award for Best Overall Interior Design for a Casino.

Featured Projects

Steelman Partners has designed more than 4,000 casino and integrated resorts around the world. Projects include Buena Vue Resort in Buena Vista, California; La Jolla Band Casino in La Jolla, California; the Showroom at Resorts World Las Vegas; Hard Rock Cafe in Biloxi, Mississippi; and the Casino at the Empire in London. Construction is currently underway on Resorts World Las Vegas. When the $4B, 3,000-room resort opens in 2020, 3,000 union employees will reportedly be hired to run the Chinese-themed resort. In 2003, the firm announced that it had been awarded the design of the Nevada State Museum, which was moving from its Lorenzi Park location to a 160-acre spot at the Las Vegas Springs Reserve in Valley View. The Steelman-designed building consisted of 75,000 square feet that would allot approximately 11,000 square feet to exhibition space. The layout covered three levels and also included a retail shop, research library, an auditorium, permanent collection library, main level museum, and administration offices. The museum was originally slotted for a 2007 opening, but the state’s budget constraints delayed the $50M project for several years. Nevada’s new flagship museum opened in October 2011.

The Friedmutter Group Architecture and Design Studios

Brad Friedmutter

Fodor’s 100 Award for the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas,
HOSPY Awards,
Best of Last Vegas Awards

4022 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89103

About The Friedmutter Group Architecture and Design Studios

The Friedmutter Group works exclusively in mixed-use hospitality, casino, and entertainment projects of all sizes. Brad Friedmutter founded the Friedmutter Group in 1992 to focus on that specific mixed-use market. A native of Queens, New York, Friedmutter landed a job at the San Francisco office of Bank of America and settled on the West Coast. His career took off big once he teamed up with casino mogul Steve Wynn, who made Friedmutter the vice president of design and construction for Wynn’s Golden Nugget. Dubbed the “jet-setting architect,” Friedmutter attributes his firm’s success to his ability to pinpoint each client’s goals for a project, regardless of market sector. Friedmutter is a registered architect in 43 states, holds a non-restricted Nevada gaming license, and has been in the gaming and hospitality industry for over 35 years. The firm has won many awards, including the Fodor’s 100 Award for the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (2011), several HOSPY awards, and several Best of Las Vegas awards.

Featured Projects

Friedmutter was the design brain behind Sin City’s 6.7M-square-foot casino, The Cosmopolitan. Between 2004 and 2010, the firm was the executive architect on the project and handled all of the casino’s interior layouts. With a final budget of $3.9B, the casino became one of the world’s most expensive structures when it opened in 2010. The project featured not only 90k square feet of casino and high limit, but over 3,000 rooms, 300k square feet of retail and dining space, a 40k-square-foot gym and spa, a 3,200-seat theater, a 150k-square-foot convention area, an entertainment sky deck, nightclub, and separate pools for relaxing, daytime and night club use. Off the strip in Henderson is another popular Vegas destination by Friedmutter, The Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa Casino. The firm handled all three phases of the project, which opened with an 80k-square-foot casino, 10-screen theater complex, 200 guest rooms and suites, and a 50k-square-foot conference area. By Phase 2, 300 guest rooms and an 80k-square-foot ballroom were added. Phase 3 saw casino expansion, a poker room, and an 11k-square-foot entertainment lounge. The project won special praise for its Italian-style facade and charming vineyards.

KME Architects

Melvin Green
Emanuel Arguelles

Las Vegas City council Outstanding Business Owner Award

5588 South Fort Apache Road, Suite 110, Las Vegas, NV 89148

About KME Architects

KME Architects has offices in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Guam. The diversified firm, which started in 2009, works in architectural and interior design, as well as in construction administration, landscape architecture, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consulting / sustainable design, design-build services, tenant improvements, master planning, and custom home design. KME Architects provides environmentally friendly and eco-conscious design services. Established in 2009, the firm has been nominated by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce as Best New Small Firm. Principal and owner Melvin Green, NCARB, NOMA, and APEC has designed large-scale architectural projects for more than 30 years. His license from Pacific Economic Countries permits him to practice in more than 16 APEC nations. Principal and owner Emanuel Arguelles, NCARB, LEED AP, NOMA, received his master’s in architecture from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. He heads KME’s sustainable design department. The firm’s clients include The US Airforce, Starbucks, the Mirage Hotel, and McDonald’s. In 2009, the Las Vegas City Council honored KME with its Outstanding Business Owner Award.

Featured Projects

In 2007, Melvin Green, KME Architects senior partner, provided full architectural services for the Nevada Partners Center. This 21,880-square-foot, mixed-used building has a boxing gymnasium with showers and a weight room, plus a two-story job training center with classrooms, multipurpose rooms, computer rooms, and a commercial kitchen. The building now has a Culinary Training Academy and Events Center. The firm’s restoration of West Side School is an impressive display of talent and community vision. The City of Las Vegas chose KME to do the master design for the school, and KME began by engaging the community to assess their needs. The finished product now holds a LEED Gold certification and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1923, West Side was Las Vegas’s first grammar school and the state’s first public school to admit African American students. The $12.5M restoration project, which took seven years to complete, had KME handling the architecture, interior design, civil and structural engineering, and historic architectural consulting to restore the 1948 Annex building, original courtyard, and grounds. Although the school closed in the 1960s, the building is now home to a radio station and nonprofit tech company. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the state’s Historic Property Register.

Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects

Rick Sellers
Mike Del Gatto

NAIOP of Southern Nevada Chapter 2016,
2014 Architecture Firm of the Year Awards,
AIA Nevada Firm of the Year Award in 1999

8882 Spanish Ridge Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89148

About Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects

Flip through the slideshow on the the homepage of Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architect’s website, and you’ll be impressed. The firm has a long list of high-profile, beautiful buildings to its name. Founded in southern Nevada in 1986, CSD has completed projects in 41 states. The firm has won over 100 design awards, including NAIOP of Southern Nevada Chapter 2016, 2014 Architecture Firm of the Year Awards, and the AIA Nevada Firm of the Year Award in 1999. The firm has also garnered coverage in state, regional, and national press. The firm’s guiding philosophy has been, “Nurturing our client’s interest in the art of architecture, we seek to develop in them a passion for architecture like our own.”
A shared passion for the profession and a commitment to design excellence – led by Principals Rick Sellers, AIA, and Mike Del Gatto, AIA, LEED AP – allow each staff member to take pride in the work, excel in a culture that fosters strong team spirit, and thrive in a collaborative process that delivers highly functional, sustainable, and appropriate designs. Rick Sellers was named AIA Nevada Young Architect in 1997 and serves on AIA committees such as the Committee for the Environment.

Featured Projects

When the City of Henderson commissioned CSD to build its senior center, it said it wanted “a building that sits lightly on the land.” The firm complied with a 29,350-square-foot LEED Gold-certified facility that includes a commercial kitchen, wellness center, crafts rooms, game room, gym, conference rooms, movie room, multipurpose room, and dining facilities. More game spaces were placed outside, adjacent to a BBQ area. The project won four awards: the 2010 SW Contractor Honorable Mention for a Public Building, the 2011 BOMA Toby Earth Award, and two 2012 NAIOP Merit Awards for Community Impact and Sustainable Design. For Tennis superstar Andre Agassi, rising to the top of his profession wasn’t enough. He also wanted to touch the lives of those less fortunate. In 2001, the Las Vegas native opened a charter school to offer underprivileged children with educational choices. Agassi pegged CSD to design both the College Preparatory Academy High School and Middle School. The high school is a 78.5k-square-foot facility that sits on more than seven acres and serves over 600 students. CSD designed the school’s college-level science labs, lecture halls, library, student hang-out room, and classrooms, as well as the gym’s weight room and dance studio. For the 56,513-square-foot middle school, CSD plans included state-of-the-art technology in security, video conferencing, distance learning, computing, telecommunications, and fiber optics. The projects fetched the AIA Nevada Citation Award, CEFPI Southwest Region Monarch Award, and the Southwest Contractor Best of Nevada K-12.

Ed Vance & Associates Architects

Edward Vance

AIA Nevada Young Architect Citation,
the AIA Nevada Service Award,
AIA Nevada Silver Medal

900 South Pavilion Center Drive, Suite 180, Las Vegas, NV 89144

About Ed Vance & Associates Architects

EV&A was founded in Las Vegas to provide a wide range of architectural, planning, and interior design services to the hospitality, commercial, and healthcare markets. The firm’s work has been recognized for design excellence due to the personal involvement of the design principals with each client throughout the entire design process and into construction. A total commitment to the overall project is the hallmark of the firm. The founder and president of EV&A Associates is Edward Vance. He has received the AIA Nevada Young Architect citation, the AIA Nevada Service Award, and the AIA Nevada Silver Medal, which is the top honor an architect can receive. In 2014, Vance received the AIA Regional Silver Medal and was elected to the AIA College of Fellows. He also served a three-year term on the AIA National Board of Directors.

Featured Projects

Las Vegas is known for its casinos, but there are plenty of other high-dollar buildings in town, some of which EV&A can take credit for. EV&A’s projects include the UNLV Tech Park, Arroyo Corporate Center, Ceilos Edge Retail Center, Citibank, Coronado Promenade Center, Desert Art Museum, Dynasty Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas Convention Center, World Market Center, and The Crossings Offices. When designing The Desert Art Museum, the firm approached it by considering that the space needed to be a place for local artists to display their work, and it also needed to reflect the desert environment in which it resides. The 10-acre site is in a floodplain, which can be concerning to artists displaying their work. But EV&A designed the new gallery with a perimeter wall that deflects flood waters, providing peace of mind. And the firm collaborated with the Jerde Partnership and JMA Architects on four of the World Market Center’s buildings. Each phase of the project added a new highrise to the complex of interconnected buildings, and each building featured multi-level lobby atriums and showrooms. Building A is 10 stories covering 1.3M square feet, and Building B is 16 stories and 1.6M square feet. Building C — a 2.1M-square-foot project — has 16 stories plus an eight-story, $60M parking center with about 4,200 spaces. For the unbuilt 17-story Building D, consisting of 1M square feet, EVA was the architect of record and collaborated with design architect Jerde.

BWA (Bergman Walls & Associates)

Joel Bergman
Scott Walls
Leonard A Bergman

Sarno Lifetime Achievement Award for Casino Design,
UNLV Artists and Entertainers Hall of Fame

709 Valle Verde Court, Henderson, NV 89014

About BWA (Bergman Walls & Associates)

From BWA’s perspective, architecture is both an art and a science that “involves the creation of customer experiences that become manifest in the design of buildings.” BWA also offers master planning, interior design, sustainable design, and fast track project management. The firm’s chairman and founding principal is Joel Bergman, who in 2006 won the Sarno Lifetime Achievement Award for Casino Design. He has also been inducted into the UNLV Artists and Entertainers Hall of Fame.

Featured Projects

BWA’s commercial projects include Trump International Hotel, The Signature at MGM Grand, Paris Las Vegas and the expansion of Caesars Palace. Paris Las Vegas was a $760M project spanning 4.5M square feet. The resort features authentic replicas of famous French landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Hôtel de Ville, as well as façades of the Paris Opera House and The Louvre. The resort’s signature replica is a 50-level, half-scale Eiffel Tower, where visitors can dine in a gourmet restaurant 100 feet above the Strip, or travel (via glass elevator) to an observation deck at the top for a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley. In the late 1990’s, BWA was tapped to design the interiors for three towers added to a hotel-casino as famous as Las Vegas itself: Caesars Palace. BWA’s work began with The Palace Tower, which opened in 1997. The Greco Roman-themed hotel has 1,134 rooms, 29 levels, 47k square feet of spa and retail space, five restaurants, Corinthian columns, and marble-tiled floors in every room. By 2004, plans were underway for the 26-level Augustus Tower, a $289M expansion that included 949 rooms overlooking the Garden of the Gods pools, 49k square feet of spa and retail space, two restaurants, Roman baths, and master suites equipped with private spas and televisions in the bathrooms. The Octavius Tower, completed in 2012, added 665 more rooms and three grand villas featuring working fireplaces, billiard rooms, and master bathrooms with tubs made of onyx.

Klai Juba Wald Architects

John Klai II
Dan Juba
John Wald

AIA Nevada Distinguished Service Award,
AIA Western Mountain Region Silver Medal Award

4444 West Russell Road, Suite J, Las Vegas, NV 89118

About Klai Juba Wald Architects

A list of top commercial architects in Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without Klai Juba Wald. The firm links master planning with conceptual design and architecture. The firm says they leave their stamp on the world with the buildings they create. John Klai II is the co-founder and a principal of the firm. He has overseen the MGM Grand expansion and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Resorts in Florida. He serves on the Nevada Board of Architecture, and in 2015, was named to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. In 2004, AIA Nevada honored the firm with the Nevada Distinguished Service Award. In 2013, AIA’s Western Mountain Region Council recognized John Klai’s outstanding contributions to the profession and his community with its highest honor, a Silver Medal Award.

Featured Projects

Klai Juba Wald’s projects include the Luxor, the Linq, Planet Hollywood, the Orleans, Four Seasons, Panorama, and Sky in Las Vegas. They’ve also done work in Florida, Illinois, California, and Maryland. In Vegas, KJW stepped in to handle the overhaul of the Aladdin Hotel, a casino that helped shape Strip history since it opened in the 1960s. The project, completed in 2000, focused on a 100k-square-foot casino and 35k-square-foot European gaming salon. After the Aladdin had been transformed into the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in the early 2000s, KJW was commissioned to be architect of record for the 2007 renovation, a three-year project costing around $217M. KJW added a new lobby and renovated the casino floor, VIP check-in, retail shops, and the Race and Sports Lounge. A more high-profile project had KJW as the architect of record for one of the Vegas Strip’s most famous destinations, the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The postmodern structure opened in 1999, costing $950M. The resort’s 9M square feet are spread over 40 acres that house a 43-story, 3,300-room hotel and 135k-square-foot casino, designed around an aquatic playground theme. Visitors who need a break from gambling enjoy a 12k-seat indoor arena that hosts fighting championships, sports tournaments, beauty pageants, and concerts. There’s also a 2,000-seat House of Blues, a 1.6M-gallon Wave Pool, and a 90k-square-foot shark reef boasting one of North America’s largest shark tanks.