November 07: the Landmark

2012/11/07 § Leave a comment

On this day in 1995 the Landmark Hotel and Casino was demolished.

Opened in 1969, the (ultimately) ironically named “Landmark” never made the splash its owner imagined except in terms of its architecture.  Designed by Edward Hendricks, the building reached a height of 364 feet, topped by a big three-story high metal saucer rising from a fat shaft that rested on a broader plinth.  That big space-age flourish at the top–garnished with a rotating neon letter “L”–was the sci-fi capital of the huge column building.  It housed restaurants and a top-level nightclub that provided 360-degree views of Las Vegas.  It was cool enough to be chosen as a setting in a James Bond movie.

But its glamour wore off quickly.  Built off the strip, its aim to be the tallest building in Nevada was quickly outpaced by a better-located hotel.  The Landmark attracted neither high rollers nor spectacular talent, and struggled for viability.  It closed just twenty-one years after opening and, in spite of preservationists’ efforts, was taken out to make room for a parking lot to serve the convention center next door.

At least the memorable building went out with a bang–literally. One of the great projects of Controlled Demolition–a curious thing to applaud–, the destruction was choreographed to be striking, not just efficient.  Its footage was folded into Tim Burton’s movie Mars Attacks!, and is featured on the many websites that gleefully record the destruction of Las Vegas architecture (like this one and this one).  In the context of Las Vegas’ value for spectacular waste, the casino achieved true landmark status as it fell in a heap of ruin.

Image: the Casino, as portrayed on a room service menu (from this source)

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