Unique Buildings Inspired by Music

Hard Rock Cafe pic

Architects are like artists. They take inspiration from many different sources to design unique and interesting buildings that paint the skylines and flank the sidewalks of our towns and cities. The designer of Milwaukee’s Art Museum took inspiration from nearby Lake Michigan, creating elements that look like sails and boats into his design. Meanwhile, London’s famous 30 St Mary Axe is more commonly referred to as “The Gherkin” thanks to its resemblances to a pickled cucumber.

Similarly, buildings provide inspiration for other forms of art. The band This Will Destroy You created its album “Vespertine” for the 2-Michelin Star restaurant of the same name that is owned by Chef Jordan Kahn. Each track on the album is designed to mimic the order in which diners experience the restaurant, with track one titled “building” and track seven called “garden”.
Sometimes, though, things work the other way around, and music becomes a source of inspiration for architects while designing their latest addition to the built environment. Some cast subtle hints at the world of music, while others are brazen about their inspiration.

Hard Rocks Guitar Hotel – Hollywood, Florida
The Hard Rock Cafe is known for serving up a mix of great food and rockin’ tunes, but the brand has also branched out into other businesses. In Florida, the Hard Rock Stadium is the home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team and features a Hard Rock Cafe and Hard Rock Club bar.

The company also tried its hand at the amusement park business, opening Hard Rock Park in 2008. However, the park only stayed open for one year and was bought by new owners and renamed Freestyle Music Park.

The most successful attempt at diversification has been the company’s series of hotels across the United States and the world, with locations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Each one is unique, with a wide variety of architectural styles used across the portfolio, but perhaps none stand out as much as the Guitar Hotel in Hollywood, Florida.

As the name suggests, the hotel is shaped like an acoustic guitar that rises 450 feet into the air over 36-stories, with strings that are made from lights shining into the clouds.

Dancing House “Fred and Ginger” – Prague, Czechia
While the Guitar Hotel is a glaringly obvious homage to rock music, the Dancing House in Czechia’s capital city is a little more subtle. This unique building is home to a French restaurant, an art gallery and a number of well-known global companies. It is open to the public and offers spectacular views over the city.

Built in 1997, the Dancing House was designed to stand out from the other buildings on the street, resembling a man and a woman dancing.

Half of the building is made from curved glass with concrete supports poking down to ground level, mimicking a dancing woman whose dress is twisting as she moves. The other half of the Dancing House represents her male partner wearing a hat.

train tower
Grand Guitar – Bristol, Tennessee
The United States leads the world in guitar-shaped buildings, with another entry to add to its list. The Grand Guitar in Bristol, Tennessee was the home of a music museum and shop, with its shape leaving passers-by with absolutely no doubt as to what they’d find inside.

If you do visit today, you’ll find the Grand Guitar has been closed, but it had been home to a whole host of string instruments on display, including guitars, violins, and banjos.

Built in 1983, the Grand Guitar was the world’s only guitar-shaped building until it was joined by the Guitar Hotel in Florida. It stands on the edge of the city, near to exit 74-a of Interstate 81, and still welcomes visitors to Bristol, the birthplace of country music.

Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Some people criticise chain hotels for lacking character or being carbon copies of each other. This is understandable in many cases, as some companies now use innovative modular construction techniques to mass-produce the rooms offsite and drop them into place from a crane.

However, the Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana doesn’t fit into this category. When it was renovated in the 1990s, the architects decided to add a giant clarinet to the side of the 16-storey building to celebrate the city’s rich musical history.