Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl


Vertical Strip Hanging Tower by Stephan Sobl

Architecture graduate Stephan Sobl has designed an upside-down skyscraper to hang over the Colorado River in Nevada, right beside the Hoover Dam.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

Entitled Vertical Strip, the conceptual tower would provide a casino, a hotel, a boxing ring and a concert hall, like the nearby Las Vegas Strip.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

The lightweight carbon-fibre structure would be suspended from a concrete cantilever and supported by a spiralling metal shell.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

Located between the dam and the bypass bridge, the tower would be accessible to both cars and pedestrians from the adjoining road.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

Sobl developed the project whilst studying at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

More recent graduate projects on Dezeen »

The following information is provided by the designer.

Vertical Strip – A Hanging Tower

My Diploma is about the interplay of opaque massive surfaces capable of incorporating poché and lightweight, fragile structure.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

The resulting environments developed by these distinct architectural languages are exploited and distributed vertically to create extreme spatial sequences.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

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The project is a casino resort, a satellite alternative to Las Vegas, located on a dramatic site between the Hoover Dam and the Bypass Bridge. The resort caters to various 21st century vices including entertainment (concert venues, MMA Fighting), gambling and luxury living. The architectural challenges I dealt with were taking the convential vertical tower, including its plynth and orientation, and turning it upside down.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

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Architectural elements: The massing layout is construed by the event space on top with a framed view of the Hoover Dam; the casino underneath leading to the hotel lobby and the hotel itself. At the bottom of the tower there is a dramatic area for happenings and ceremonial occasions. It also includes a breakfast room and high end dining with the elevator core floating above the space; a glass floor providing views to the ground; and terraced floor slabs.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

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In terms of circulation, there are several ways leading into the plynth of the tower, including car circulation; and viewing platforms. The bridge circulation focuses on 3 elements:

  • structural details of the Bypass Bridge
  • openings to the Hoover Dam
  • breathtaking diagonal views of the hanging tower with a constant interplay of plunging and emerging.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

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Once you arrive at the entrance of the tower, you enter the hanging structure through the supportive strings leading you down through the casino into the hotel lobby.

Vertical Strip by Stephen Sobl

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The structural system is divided into 3 tectonics: - a massive concrete structure building the cantelivar for the hanging tower - a lightweight hanging tower - a metal shell embracing the structure

The way I generated the tower is with a partical simulation based on gravity. In order to achieve structural logic the stings are rotated clockwise and counter clockwise.

The metal shell provides shading and natural wind cicrulation for the tower of which its panels are orientating themselves according to changing wind conditions.


    A big ol' shidoobie into a flowing body of water…architectural genius.

  • Mert

    Looks like a big turd being let over a hillside by a high-tech anus.

  • found

    a carbon-fiber skyscraper hanging from a massive concrete structure + a shiny metal spoiler… no comment.

  • Crazy mix of Zaha & Lebbeus Woods.
    Love it.

    • felix

      architecture these days has a lot to apologise to lebbeus woods about

  • Beautiful study, beautiful drawing. For the metal structure, that it will be the company that will calculate the metal tension, by what method? which, if the project is completed, be very challenging to know.

  • Modi

    Genius, this young man is certainly going to be a major architectural figure

  • humphrey

    don't you just love it when architecture students come up with these amazing forms and images and yet populate the 'plans' with standard bathrooms, kitchens etc……………

    • Alberto

      Who is free from sin, throw the first stone. Come on. He's learning as everyone else does during their entire lifes. This project has been done in a post-secondary education context, with that same kind of timeframe. Let's not mince a burgeoning talent! This is a daring design and when I think about it, it was developped by someone without that long experience that many of us admire. The Illinois, the volcano shaped cities in Japan… come on. Dreams are excellent. Watch the glass half-full.

    • HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA soooo true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • vali

    interesting as the subject of hanging buildings may be, this project is not a great argument to start that discution with. i think. a bit of a waste of time really.

  • empty calories

    yawn…yet another spiraling-parametric-t-splined-grasshoppered-v-rayed-3d printed- pile of yet another something we have seen a million times before and will see a million times again. who would have believed that "avangarde" could be so mundane?

    • Michael

      good eye, bro!

      there was no rhino, therefore no tspline and no grasshopper. even no v-ray and the large scale model was constructed and not 3d printed…

      • empty calories

        Michael read my post again. so you used program x- or -y . who cares? that's not the point i was raising. this project falls into the bag along with a heap of other student digital "lab" projects which do nothing for today's reality and are full to the brim with the designers ego. this project portrays itself as a "one of", as "avantgarde" but its been seen so many times before that this is now the mainstream… hence the yawn.

        • empty calories

          p.s-having said what i said, nevertheless, kudos for the craftsmanship and the hard work, that is something never to be taken for granted.

  • Jim

    as if Nevada needs anymore gaudy casinos

  • J Phillips

    Think Mert has eloquently said it all…

  • great design Stephen, would love to see it built, but of course it's not going to happen, not in this economy.
    well, maybe in china.

    thanks god this is not another japanese box-house.

  • Powerful and yet so meaningless, seems like they 've lost their interest about the present time , heh :P

  • Adarsha

    Amazing concept.. And hats off to the designer for pulling it off.

  • although I find your comments about turds and asses quite amusing, I must admit this is quite a masterpiece. Useless in function; maybe. Useless in esthetics; not at all..

  • DMK

    Udderly ridiculous. Got milk?

  • James

    In a decade, we'll all look back and laugh.

    • JBB

      Even in less than a decade… 3 years?

      • DMK

        I'm already there.

  • I never understand why people shoot down the ambition of architects. So many projects seem mundane and boring! Japanese concrete box housing and many familiar office and residential towers. What is the harm in stripping the student of restriction and seeing what he is really capable of creating.

    And lets be honest, anyone shooting this project down because 'it wont get built' consider the fact that there are as many project that get rejected as the ones that success and that conceptualising is a good thing for architecture to pursue.

    Rant over

  • Felix Lorsignol

    Visually and technically incredible. but please don't ever build something like that in the beautiful nevada desert!

  • Baoan

    Nice! pity these square tables ans armchairs not in tune with architectural soft lines. Maybe next time?

  • jamie

    In a Sci-Fi film, this could work.

  • Anthony Thompson

    Obviously inspired by Calatrava. And SC could probably engineer this to be built! : )


      Actually, more inspired by Paolo Soleri.

  • Lindsay

    It is a great concept, but it lacks integration with the actual landscape. Instead of bringing the concept of bigger is better from Las Vegas and plunking it down for the sake of it, why not create a more natural atmosphere that can still house the "life" of Las Vegas? I think this proves that high-tech does not belong everywhere as some may think.

  • 건축가의 무한 상상력!

  • xoxo

    almost an 'underground skyscraper'

  • Petr F.

    Its like buildings in Vulcan Planet :))))

  • EmTo

    If good or bad. if you like it or not. if useful or not. the project is legitime because it starts a discussion as one can see! Thats all a diploma work of a young architect should do.
    better think and do radical than keep living in the box.

  • Akeel

    I've noticed a lot of negative comments, i think as architects/ designers we need to think outside the box. This is an example of true imagination but thats what makes us explore various design strategies. whether this design works or not its still creative design som thing which hasn't been done and probably wont be done. Great concept! we need new thinkers!!

  • chante

    Man what a buncha haters! Just lame! All I have to say!