Daniel Joseph Chenin - Fort 137 reclaims the vernacular of Las Vegas’ early settlements
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Fort 137 reclaims the vernacular of Las Vegas’ early settlements

Daniel Joseph Chenin

Villa  /  Completed
Daniel Joseph Chenin

Fort 137 sits on a rocky ridge along the fringes of Las Vegas, Nevada where urban development eases and gives way to the desert. The design takes inspiration from fort structures of the valley’s first settlers expanding westward in the 1850s. Designed to protect against the harsh desert sun, wind, and heat, the project is constructed with thick robust stone walls, deep-set fenestrations, trellis shade structures, and interior courtyards sheltered from the desert beyond. Fort 137 reclaims the vernacular of Las Vegas’ early settlements by utilizing proven, sustainable methods for designing in the hot and arid desert.

Fort 137 was designed to allow occupants to feel embedded in their surroundings, windows in every room provide access to natural light, air, and views. Ecological preservation was integral to the design using massing and materials to blend the structure with the land to maintain the site’s character. Operable fenestration remove boundaries separating indoors and out allowing natural airflow and daylighting, eliminating need for artificial light during the day while reducing the number of days requiring cooling. Transparent halls and pocket gardens allow the desert to spill into the home while creating a more thermally stable space. A view frame cut into the courtyard wall acts as a portal to the desert outside the walls allowing the natural flora and fauna to take center stage.

Fort 137 is sited to allow for passive heating and cooling considering both solar access and shading, as well as thermal massing and prevailing winds with the objective of achieving net zero energy. The residence is comprised of native and regionally sourced materials that will compliment and evolve with the site as they age over time. The material palette includes weathered steel, reconstituted oak veneer, and limestone. Rock excavated from the site was used to the greatest extent possible to blend the building into the ecology. The overall design limits its environmental impact through strategies, such as, passive cooling, daylighting, thermal mass, photovoltaic panels, and radiant heating. These strategies offset the home’s carbon footprint, reducing its dependence on the grid.

Designed to be compatible with the surrounding desert, and for it to look as though it had always been there, the project references one of the few remaining early historical structures in the Las Vegas Valley for inspiration using massing and materials to blend the structure with the site. Fort 137 is an open structure, organized into three layers, which radiate out from a communal nucleus to a periphery of private zones. Seeking a sustainable place to connect with the natural surroundings, our design centered on creating an experiential space for family gathering. Large spans of operable glass and windows throughout, deconstruct the physical and perceived barrier between indoors and out.

The layout is designed to be compact and clustered, making the program readable as a series of connected rock masses emerging from the earth. Each volume is carefully placed to maximize views of the surrounding landscape while mitigating the harsh effects of the desert sun and wind. Large fenestrations give way to expansive views and natural light while extending the living space beyond the architectural perimeter into the landscape and provide cross-ventilation when open. Great care was taken to preserve the site during construction including reconstruction of the geological ledge at the rear of the property which naturally mitigates erosion. Large boulders previously removed from the site were brought back as sculptural elements to reclaim the rugged, natural character of the site.

“I am continually delighted by the transformative element of the house. Windows in every room allow light to pour in. I love how connected the inside is to the outdoor environment. The amount of glass throughout allows the walls to melt away and create the feeling of being outside in the preserve. No matter what time of day or year the rooms have different qualities and light characteristics that create unique experiences.”


 Las Vegas
 Nevada, USA
 729 mq
 Daniel Joseph Chenin, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
 Daniel Joseph Chenin, Eric Weeks, Kevin Welch, Esther Chung, Jose Ruiz, Grace Ko, Alberto Sanchez, Debra Ackermann, Julie Nelson
 Forte Specialty Contractors
 McCay Engineering, Vangson Consulting, LLC, Vector Structural Engineering, Engineering Partners, Inc, Ozzie Kraft Custom Pools, Daniel Fine Art Services
 Stetson Ybarra, Stephen Morgan, Daniel Joseph Chenin


Established in 2014, Daniel Joseph Chenin, Ltd. is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary design studio with an integrated approach. Pushing beyond the boundaries of the conventional process that separates architecture from interior design and exterior environments, our approach has been honed across more than two decades in practice to deliver a unique singularity of vision. This rigorous and holistic approach has established the firm’s reputation for exceptionally crafted, meticulously detailed, and thoughtfully curated spaces. Taking on a limited number of commissions at a time, each project begins as a study into our clients’ objectives, without a preconceived notion or prototypical style. Equally pragmatic and artist, our approach centers on developing a meaningful understanding of each commission – balancing our client's functional and aesthetic priorities to craft spaces that are fully conceptualized, richly layered and entirely representative of our clients’ vision.



#Finalist #Acciaio corten  #Legno  #Pietra  #Residenza  #Struttura in acciaio  #Travertino  #Las Vegas  #Nevada, USA  #Daniel Joseph Chenin 

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