Las Vegas Landmark to Be a Museum

The signature La Concha hotel was moved from the notorious gambling town to a site outside the city, to become the Neon Museum

The La Concha motel’s signature lobby, formed by curling shells of parabolic concrete, has gone for a drive down the Las Vegas Strip. Designed by Paul R. Williams, the first African-American member and Fellow of the AIA, La Concha was a futuristic hotspot thronged by celebrity visitors when it opened in 1961. But over time, it was upstaged by towering new casinos and hotels. The motel’s guestrooms, which were housed in a low slung box off the back, were demolished years ago, leaving only the 1,100-square-foot lobby structure intact. When it too was threatened by a new development, the city’s Neon Museum saw an opportunity both to preserve the structure, and to create a visitor’s center for itself. “In Las Vegas, it’s a landmark,” Neon Museum board member Dorothy Wright says. “It’s important on so many levels.”

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