One could easily mistake Rancho Mirage architect Narendra Patel’s building on Highway 111 as a prestigious museum or the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. But, no, the sophisticatedly organic structure that looks like it grew out of its surroundings rather than being built on them belongs to the City of Palm Desert.
The Henderson Community Center — named for city founders Clifford and Randall Henderson and completed last fall — serves as the chamber of commerce home and a place for community groups to meet. The city’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building — the adjacent visitor center — is certified Silver. The Henderson Community Center is certified Gold.
“‘Going green’ might be the buzz phrase today, but ultimately it will become a survival skill,” Patel believes. He designed the 6,300-square-foot building with an eye toward solar energy, natural air circulation, resource conservation, and minimal waste.
“Anyone can build using lots of material,” Patel says. “Taking weight away from things, however, teaches you to make the shape of structures do the work, to understand the strength of components, and to replace rigidity with flexibility.”