The work of an everyman designer who shaped the desert city?s residential architecture is under appraisal As an architect working in mid-century Las Vegas, Hugh Taylor found that payment wasn?t always by the books.
While working for big-name developer and casino owner Wilbur Clark in the late ?50s, the designer once approached him for payment while he was sitting inside the Desert Inn, the famed southwestern-themed casino which Taylor designer and Clark owned.
Clark said he?d take care of Taylor and, without missing a beat, wrote ?Pay Hugh Taylor $10,000? on a napkin, and instructed the architect to ask for money at the cashier?s desk. Taylor did as he was told.
That Friday afternoon, he found himself walking out of the Desert Inn with a pile of cash, a stack of bills he had to sit on at home until the banks re-opened Monday morning.
Hugh Taylor isn?t a household name in Vegas, nor is he one of the big names of American modernism. But the under-recognized designer, who passed away in 2015, helped shape residential design in the desert city just as it was beginning to bloom, putting his stamp on dozens of commercial buildings and hundreds of homes in developments like Paradise Palms and Beverly Green.
A young Hugh Taylor, sitting in front of the then-unfinished Desert Inn
?If you?ve lived in Las Vegas for any amount of time, you have either worked, shopped or gone to school in a building that he helped design,? Kris Shepherd, chair of the UNLV College of Fine Arts advisory board, told Vegas Seven.
Few of Taylor?s experiences mirrored the moment he was paid out in a casino, since most of his jobs were for clients of much more modest means. That?s why a current effort to unearth his complete story may provide a new view of Taylor?s true legacy.
The layers of Taylor?s story?and his influence?are just beginning to be unraveled by the Nevada Preservation Foundation. Founded by Heidi Swank, the new preservation group recently came into pos...