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Martin Stern Jr.

martin stern jr. and associates, martin stern jr. & associates
Martin Stern Jr April 9, 1917 – July 28, 2001 was an American architect who was most widely known for his large scale designs and structures in Las Vegas, Nevada He is credited with originating the concept of the structurally integrated casino resort complex in Las Vegas12

The International Hotel, which later became the Las Vegas Hilton, and the first MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, two pivotal Martin Stern Jr projects with entrepreneur Kirk Kerkorian in 1969 and 1973, set the pace for the transformation of Las Vegas from a low-rise sprawl3 of motels, clubs and parking lots into an extravagant high-rise metropolis

The Daily Telegraph London wrote of the first Stern and Kerkorian project in its September 2001 eulogy4 to Stern: "The International, whose tri-form 30-floor tower contained 1,519 rooms and became the most imitated building on the Las Vegas Strip, provided the model for the Bellagio, Treasure Island, Mirage and Mandalay Bay, among other hotels" When it was completed, the International was the largest hotel in the world It is now the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

The first MGM Grand, larger than the Empire State Building2 and in its turn the largest hotel in the world, burned in 1980 in what is considered the worst disaster in Nevada state history As the Telegraph observed, this loss only seven years after the hotel was completed was devastating to Stern The MGM Grand was nonetheless rebuilt within eight months and reopened It was sold in 1985 and is now Bally's Las Vegas

The Sahara Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Construction magnate Del Webb was another major client with whom Stern worked on many projects, including twenty years of elaborate stages of expansion of the Sahara Hotel and Casino between 1963 and 19835


  • 1 Commissions
    • 11 1950s
    • 12 1960s
    • 13 1970s
    • 14 1980s
  • 2 References


Las Vegas Hilton, formerly the International Hotel

The extensive Lied Library and Architecture Studies Library inventories6789 of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Department of Special Collections10 document more than one hundred Martin Stern Jr projects between 1951 and 1989, several of which — including the near-legendary Xanadu envisioned in 197516 — were never built Dreaming the Skyline: Resort Architecture and the New Urban Space is an online collection from UNLV Libraries Digital Collections that includes several hundred images of Stern's work, including architectural plans and photographs

Nearly half of Martin Stern Jr's projects were in Nevada while another quarter were in California The rest were in other states including Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah and in at least three other countries: Australia, Japan, and Slovenia, which was then part of Yugoslavia

The following partial listing by decades sketches less than one third of Stern's work


  • 1955: Encino Village, a subdivision of 400 homes in Encino, Los Angeles, California1112
  • 1955: Holiday Hotel Reno in Reno, Nevada - the birthplace of the World Series of Poker
  • 1958-61: Mountain Shadows later a Marriott resort in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • 1959: Del Webb's Towne House, on Market between 7th and 8th Streets in San Francisco, California


Ship's Coffee Shop sign
  • 1960: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona
  • 1963: Ship's Coffee Shop,13 Los Angeles, California, in the space age Googie style which The New York Times credited Stern with pioneering14
  • 1963: Beverly Hills, California Public Library15
  • 1963-83: Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas16
  • 1964: Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, Maui, Hawaii17
  • 1964: Del Webb's Ocean House later acquired by Hilton Hotels in Mission Bay, San Diego, California
  • 1966: The Silver Slipper Hotel, known for its giant rotating rooftop silver slipper, Las Vegas Purchased in 1968 by Howard Hughes
  • 1969: King's Castle later the Tahoe Hyatt in Incline Village, Nevada
  • 1969: International Hotel, with Kirk Kirkorian The International Hotel was purchased by the Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1970 and renamed the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971


  • 1970: Kuilima Hotel and Golf Course, North Shore Oahu at Kahuku, Hawaii originally a Del Web Resort; later known as the Turtle Bay Resort18
  • 1971: Harold's Club Reno
  • 1971: Little America Hotels in Paradise Valley, Flagstaff and Tucson, Arizona and in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 1973: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino with Kirk Kirkorian Rebuilt after the 1980 MGM Grand fire Sold in 1986 and reopened as Bally's Las Vegas
  • 1974: Las Vegas Hilton Benihana Village addition
  • 1975-79: The Mint Las Vegas - now part of Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel19
  • 1979: Rainbow Plaza Resort Hotel, Niagara Falls, New York
  • 1979: Ibusuki Hotel, Ibusuki, Kagoshima, Japan
Bally's Hotel and Casino, formerly the MGM Grand, Las Vegas


  • 1982: Breakwater Island Resort Queensland, Australia
  • 1982: Harrah's Trump Plaza on the Atlantic City, New Jersey Boardwalk
  • 1982: Valley Bank, Spring Valley, Nevada
  • 1985: Nova Gorica Hotel/Casino, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
  • 1986: Darling Harbour Hotel, Darling Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1987: Embassy Suites Hotel, South Lake Tahoe, California
  • 1988: Normandie Club, Gardena, California


  1. ^ a b "The Hidden History of the Xanadu" University of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research 
  2. ^ a b Tony Illia "Nevada Swings Into the Seventies" Southwest Contractor Archived from the original on 2011-09-29 
  3. ^ "The El Rancho Vegas Story: History and Recollections" A Presentation of the UNLV Special Collections 
  4. ^ "Remembering Martin Stern Jr: Architect of the Modern Casino Resort" UNLV Center for Gaming Research
        "Martin Stern Jr, 1917-2001" Las Vegas CityLife
        "Martin Stern Jr paved way for large integrated properties" in the Las Vegas Review-Journal
        "Martin Stern Jr: A Photographic Reminiscence, Architect Shaped Vegas" Los Angeles Times
        "Martin Stern" The Daily Telegraph, London  External link in |publisher=, |work= help
  5. ^ Las Vegas Mikey "Sahara" Las Vegas History 
  6. ^ a b "Martin Stern Jr UNLV Libraries Special Collections" UNLV Lied Library 
  7. ^ "Martin Stern Jr, Architect of Las Vegas" UNLV Architecture Studies Library 
  8. ^ "Martin Stern Special Collections" UNLV Lied Library and Architecture Studies Library 
  9. ^ "Martin Stern Inventory" UNLV Lied Library 
  10. ^ "UNLV Special Collections" UNLV Department of Special Collections 
  11. ^ The History and Architecture of Encino Village
  12. ^ Laboratory for Living: Encino Archived 2006-11-08 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Roadside Peek: Ship's Coffee Shop Archived 2006-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Douglas Martin 2 August 2001 "Martin Stern Jr, 84, Architect, Dies; Redefined Vegas Skyline" The New York Times Martin Stern Jr, an architect who pioneered the eye-popping Googie-style coffee-shop architecture of Los Angeles and then brought his exuberant vision to the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip 
  15. ^ "Beverly Hills Public Library 1929-2004: A Brief History" 
  16. ^ "Las Vegas timeline" The Sahara Hotel, where The Beatles stayed in 1964 during their only Las Vegas performance Photo, The Salt Lake Tribune 
  17. ^ "History of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel" 
  18. ^ "Turtle Bay's lost gamble" San Francisco Chronicle 16 October 2005 
  19. ^ "A Centennial Celebration of Las Vegas Gaming: Raising the Stakes" University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries 

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