Don Brinkerhoff dies at 90 landscape architect transformed Las Vegas Strip

Donald Brinkerhoff, who introduced joy to tens of millions of Las Vegas readers by reworking the after-grey median strip together Las Vegas Boulevard and boosting resorts with lush landscapes, has died.

Brinkerhoff, a landscape architect who founded Lifescapes Worldwide Inc. with his wife, Barbara, was 90 when he died July 16 at his Newport Seashore, California, household.

His fingerprints and impact are visible up and down the Strip from the tropical landscape at The Mirage, to the stately pines and fountains producing an outdated-entire world vibe at Bellagio and to Lifescapes’ most recent challenge at Resorts Earth, which involved the planting of all over 7,000 plants and trees, such as the relocation of about 100 trees rescued from the previous Stardust hotel grounds.

Brinkerhoff’s do the job began in earnest with his landscape design of The Mirage for Steve Wynn in 1989 and ongoing as a result of his function on Resorts Environment Las Vegas with direct architect Paul Steelman, who mentioned Brinkerhoff coined the conditions “hardscape” and “softscape” in landscape architecture throughout his occupation.

‘In shorter, magnificent’

“Don’s contribution from The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, Encore and China was significant,” previous Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn mentioned by means of a representative. “It was Don that dreamt up the element of the entrance of The Mirage, and it was Don that launched me to Mark Fuller with the plan of the fountain at the Bellagio.

“These innovative contributions in addition to his beautiful landscape style had been a wonderful responsibility that all of the wonderful resorts savored,” he claimed.

Brinkerhoff also built the heart median of the Strip with trees and vegetation.

The Las Vegas Beautification Venture consisted of 4½ miles of streetscaping the landscape medians on what he regarded the greatest midway in the environment, now designated as a Nevada Scenic Freeway. Seventy-six-thousand palms, shrubs, flowering foliage and ground deal with had been planted. Completed in 1996, a lot more than 200 Strip frontage house entrepreneurs unanimously authorised the $13 million special improvement district job, which had no fiscal influence on particular person Clark County taxpayers.

“I went to Don to beautify the Strip in the ’80s, and Don designed the full heart strip plan of trees to soften and offer heat to the sharp-edged signage,” Wynn stated.

“He was, in small, superb. I am grateful to have this sort of sweet reminiscences of this pretty male.”

landscape creations’

Brinkerhoff worked with nearly each individual key Strip developer during his profession, and his hallmark was to plant “big trees.”

“Don Brinkerhoff was a visionary designer whose operate consists of a lot of surprise-inducing landscape creations throughout the Las Vegas Strip,” reported Bill Hornbuckle, CEO of MGM Resorts International, which houses considerably of the designer’s operate.

“His expansive portfolio incorporates a lot of of MGM Resorts’ most famed sights which include the Oasis at The Mirage as properly as the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at Bellagio Lodge &On line casino. His function leaves a long lasting imprint on the metropolis and carries on to provide pleasure to millions of guests each and every calendar year.”

Brinkerhoff’s firm also provided the floral get the job done at Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s Encore in Las Vegas and Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts.

“Don shared our perception that the factors of nature — wonderful crops and flowers, purely natural light-weight, the comforting sight and sound of drinking water — were essential for all folks, and he helped us to make them vital things of the Wynn practical experience,” Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox stated. “Although he will be skipped, his vision lives during all of our resorts.”

Alan Feldman, a distinguished fellow in liable gaming at UNLV’s Global Gaming Institute, labored with Brinkerhoff during his time with Mirage Resorts and later with MGM Resorts Global.

A relatives person

“Beyond his around the world track record as 1 of the best landscape architects, he was often, very first and foremost, a relatives guy,” Feldman claimed. “The whole Brinkerhoff household was engaged in the function, and their talent as a group was remarkable.”

Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs, a daughter who serves as president and chief fiscal officer of Lifescapes, mentioned her parents’ penchant for travel encouraged many of the strategies for their initiatives and famous her family members lived in several locations all-around the globe prior to settling in at Newport Beach.

Feldman stated Brinkerhoff was unflappable, even when purchasers changed their minds about models in mid-job.

“Don, as the patriarch, set the tone: collaborative, even-tempered, humorous, just a wonderful colleague. He was unflappable as very well. Even as his client’s views changed and designs that experienced been approved were being altered, he tailored and made available new alternatives that have been even much better than the originals.

“His work on The Mirage served to usher in the age of the modern day integrated vacation resort not only in Las Vegas, but all-around the earth. The good thing is, that function, in addition to Treasure Island and Bellagio, will stand as legacies to his memory.”

Brinkerhoff received quite a few awards through his job. He was honored in 2001 by the California Homebuilding Foundation, was named a Fellow of the American Modern society of Landscape Architects and was the to start with architect to be inducted into the California Creating Sector Corridor of Fame and, in 2016, the American Gaming Affiliation Hall of Fame.

Resorts Earth do the job

1 of Brinkerhoff’s last assignments was the not too long ago opened Resorts Environment, which he labored on with lead architect Steelman.

“Las Vegas was extremely fortunate that Don frequented Vegas in 1986 to job interview for the design of The Mirage,” Steelman mentioned. “That day adjusted Las Vegas and casino enjoyment for good and shaped the lovely suburban look of our very urbanized town.”

Steelman identified as Brinkerhoff the 1st landscape architect who viewed landscape as a lot more than character — as also amusement.

“Don was also a lover of all the arts and tunes,” he reported. “His passion for artwork was plainly shown in his landscape types all through the globe.”

Steelman claimed he was existing when Brinkerhoff got The Mirage deal.

“While the other competition provided one of a kind remedies, they have been primarily based on the desert Southwest. Don’s structure was the only one particular to perspective landscape as escapism. He was the only landscape architect who conceived that the structure concepts casinos utilized for many years could be placed in landscape.

“Steve Wynn was very taken by Don’s presentation, and Don stayed in Vegas for many times developing a design with countless numbers of smaller model trees. Of program, Steve adopted this structure eyesight with just about every subsequent job with Don. Bellagio, Treasure Island, Wynn, Encore, Beau Rivage, Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace. Don also designed the backyard garden waterfront scheme that preceded the Fremont Street Practical experience.”

Brinkerhoff is survived by three children, son, Martin Brinkerhoff of Laguna Beach front, California and daughters Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs of Corona del Mar, California and Karen Hedstrom of Newport Seashore. He was preceded in death by daughter Christie Dunbar three weeks before he died and by his wife and organization associate, Barbara, who died in December 2014.

A celebration of everyday living for Brinkerhoff is scheduled for Aug. 6 in Newport Beach.

Get in touch with Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or
702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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