In Nevada’s booming economy, what is vacant land one day is often a brand new structure the next. And, more and more of those structures are being designed by the architectural firm of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.
The company, with headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M., opened its Las Vegas doors in 2000, and has quickly become a presence in the Valley, offering design services in commercial, education, government, healthcare and housing. “We like to think we stand out because of the variety of services we offer,” said Christopher Larsen, managing partner of the firm. “But it’s also the attention to our clients and the service we provide.”
One of its current education projects is a $70 million, 187,000-square-foot science and engineering building at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It will be the university’s first research building on campus. Larsen said it is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building, an approval given by the United States Green Building Council for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The idea is to minimize impact on the environment by using natural resources – such as sunlight – to supplement lighting and native materials, such as stone, that are readily available within a 500-mile radius. The facility will include carpet made from recycled materials and low-energy heating and cooling systems. It’s expected to be completed in 2008.
Larsen said sustainable or LEED-certified buildings are becoming predominant in the public sector, and will be state-mandated for government buildings by next year. The idea is slower to catch on in the private sector, however, because of higher costs to construct “green” buildings.
The company’s first major project in Northern Nevada is the new Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. This 295,000-square-foot, technology-based library features a robotic warehousing system, as well as classrooms and computer labs. Dekker/Perich/Sabatini is also developing the facilities program and micro-master plan for the new UNR Biotechnology & Genomics Research Facility.
One project already underway is Warm Springs West, a medical office development that will be near the new San Martin campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospital. Designed for Glen Smith & Glen Development, it is one of the first private office developments in the Valley to be LEED-certified. Some of the firm’s past projects include the Henderson Multigenerational Center and the Paseo Verde Library.
Larsen said architecture is influenced by many factors, and in Las Vegas the influence of the Strip has caused structures to be much more ornate. “The community expects a higher level of design,” he said. “We like to respond to the environment. We want you to know you’ve arrived at a place when you get there.” However, Larsen added, “We always place the function first, and the design will come out of that.”
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini was established in 1957 in Albuquerque by Art Dekker, father of current partner Dale Dekker. The firm has a third office in Amarillo, Texas. It employs 200 people company-wide, with 30 on staff in the Las Vegas office. Larsen said the company is looking at expanding its market into Phoenix. It also plans to delve more into land development consulting to help developers get the best use of their land.
With its expanding presence in Nevada, Larsen said the company has a lot of repeat business. “We like to think that’s because we take care of our clients,” he said. “Our goal is to make our clients’ businesses successful. If we can make them successful, then we are successful.”