May 9, 2016

It may have been spring break for some, but being poolside wasn’t the primary reason roughly 100 architecture and design students met in Las Vegas, March 22 – 25 2016. The students attended the West Quad Conference hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with the theme A Tale of Two Cities.

Jesus Garcia served as the West Quad Conference Chair. He said one of the unique parts of the conference was “demonstrating that there is more to Las Vegas than just the strip, but we cannot forget about the strip as well.”

AIAS National President Danielle Mitchell said the conference gave attendees a holistic Vegas experience. “With the theme A Tale of Two Cities, the conference was able to give a balance to the glitz and glamour of the touristic Las Vegas Strip with the real culture and lifestyle of Las Vegas residents.”

Mitchell said she enjoyed connecting with the West Quad members and learning about their educational and AIAS experience. “We were able to have some fun exploring all the city has to offer while learning about it’s history and expanding upon relationships and conversations together. My favorite part of any conference is the chance to meet our newest members and hear their thoughts and ideas. A Tale of Two Cities certainly provided a great program and atmosphere to do so.”

During the event attendees had a chance to tour the Red Rock National Conservation Area. Garcia said the trip “gave the opportunity for our attendees to see the natural beauty that the desert offers outside the Las Vegas Strip.”

The conference also offered sessions and tours along the Strip, including to the T-mobile Arena and City Center. Keynotes included Jeff Roberts of SERA and ARUP engineers who worked on the High Roller observation wheel. At 550 feet tall, the High Roller on the Las Vegas Strip is currently the world’s largest Ferris wheel.

West Quad Director Ashley Kopetzky said the presentation “gave a really interesting outlook on what kind of challenges are faced in doing a new kind of wheel design.”

The Past President of the United Architects of the Philippines Student Auxiliary (UAPSA), Paolo Mendonza, attended the conference and shared his experiences with the UAPSA during the Council of Presidents breakfast.

WestQuad2Garcia said one of the highlights of the event was the Beaux Arts Ball. “We were able to display an installation piece that we worked on for one week straight before the conference that depicted the theme of the conference: A Tale of Two Cities.”