Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Obtrusive Sound of the CityCenter

At first it sounds like a tuning fork has been struck, the ring-like tone pulses throughout the vast outdoor space. When it really gets going it becomes more like ear-piercing feedback causing people to stop in their tracks, hold their ears and turn their heads around trying to locate its source.

The true source of the noise is the wind. It whips across the Nevada desert and enters the brand spanking new CityCenter project on the Las Vegas strip. Where the wind becomes the sound is the tricky part. Even among the employees of the complex's stunning 47-story Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas where I stayed there is debate. Some believe the sound emits from an overpass and underground tunnel that leads to the below-grade entrance of the Mandarin and to an underground parking garage. Others point to the awe-inspiring leaning towers of the Veer condominium project. My money’s on the space between the Veer towers (pictured) and where it connects to the futurist metal-cube and angular Crystals luxury shopping mall.

Whatever the source, it’s hard to not think that it is a serious design flaw for the $11 billion, 76-acre luxury, retail, entertainment and residential complex that boast no fewer than eight world-architects.

The complex itself is an architectural and engineering marvel that I will write more about. But for now I’m trying to find out the source of the design flaw. I accidentally recorded the sound on my iphone and as soon as I can figure out how to convert it to a file that could be placed on the Internet, I will. But for now imagine what it would be like to purchase a $1 million condo in this complex and having to listen to the sound of an amplification system going wild with no way of controlling it.

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