Engineering Encore: Hard Rock’s Guitar-Shaped Hotel is the First-of-its-Kind
What do the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal all have in common? If you said they are among some of the top engineering wonders of the modern world, you are correct—so get ready to see one of the latest to hit the stage!
Check out the engineering wonder of The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, Florida—the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel and the most unique structure to climb the stairway to the sky.
In October 2019, the 35-story, 638-room Guitar Hotel made its solo debut, soaring 450 feet into the skies of South Florida. This architectural wonder took three years to create and is part of the $1.5 billion expansion of the flagship casino resort of Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The hotel is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars. The neck of the guitar extends 75 feet above the roof with light cannons blazing through. Illuminated strings, guitar faces, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels complete the look of a jam that will have you yelling: “Encore!”
So, why the guitar shape? A hotel operations executive explained how the guitar has worldwide recognition as a symbol of music. Additionally, it is the iconic symbol of the Hard Rock. Designed in collaboration with Klai Juba Wald Architects of Las Vegas, De Simone Consulting Engineers worked in strict coordination through all design specialties to complete this challenging, exciting and rewarding project.
How did they build that?
The architectural and engineering genius behind this amazing structure involved skills and expertise across several engineering and construction platforms. Tight controls and flexible designs were key components throughout the project. Experts in the areas of structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering—along with contractors in the construction and related industries—combined forces to meet the demands of this challenging project with its “sexy curves.” Here is a snapshot of how they built this one-of-a-kind guitar-shaped hotel:
- Detailed models of the guitar tower—The models of the guitar tower and other on-site projects were critical decision-making tools to address logistical challenges and ensure precision.
- Preparing the site for construction—A multiacre retention pond was filled in, along with the excavation of another pond, to create balance of onsite water retention. Crews used vibro compaction to prepare the site for construction and this allowed them to begin vertical construction.
- Laying the foundation—Concrete companies partnered to install 36,000 cubic yards of concrete that were used on the guitar tower. Meticulous detail was required for in-slab coordination to ensure that embeds for the curtain wall system, slab edges, plumbing sleeves, mechanical system openings and other openings were precise.
- Structural design—Nine inch thick, post-tensioned slabs were used on levels four through-28 to allow for thinner floor plates. This system allowed the crew to install the curtain wall and the guitar shaped design. This was a critical step to ensure the curtain wall embeds were precisely located on the slab edge.
- Addressing the curves—Several columns needed to be sloped by as much as 40 degrees, since each floor narrows and widens in the guitar shape. Additional thrust reinforcement was designed into the slabs to help hold back horizontal forces from sloping columns.
- Height restrictions—The hotel property lies within the flight path of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Design teams worked cautiously to save inches anywhere they could to maximize space for the hotel rooms. More inches could potentially turn into additional floors, thus jeopardizing the height restriction of the structure.
- Cost consideration—As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude required laser-focused cost management. The team used 3D, 4D (time) and 5D (schedule) to communicate their ideas about the project.
How an engineering degree from Vaughn can be music to your ears
The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino is one of today’s coolest and innovative examples of engineering at its finest. As you can see, the field of engineering and technology continues to play a critical role in defining modern day life and society. As technology and infrastructure continue to develop at a rapid rate, the demand for well-trained electrical, mechanical, and mechatronic engineers is greater than ever. Vaughn’s industry-focused degrees and add-on certifications will prepare you for an ever-changing and dynamic career in your chosen field.