Ready to Rock: Guitar-Shaped, Glass-Clad Hotel & Casino Takes the Stage

After months of anticipation, the guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has finally opened in Hollywood, Fla. The glass-clad building, which stands 35 stories above ground, is curved to create the realistic look of an upright guitar, complete with guitar strings. Designed by Klai Juba Wald (KJW) Architecture + Interiors, the hotel and casino held its grand opening in October 2019. The tower includes 638 rooms and suites, in addition to a 41,000-square-foot spa and several restaurants. The neck of the guitar extends 75 feet above the roof with light cannons blazing through.

According to KJW associate principal Steve Peck, plans for the guitar-shaped hotel initially began in 2007, but were put on hold once the economy collapsed. He says it was around 2013 when the owner re-opened the discussions to build the hotel.

He says given the tower’s curves, its shape and the cantilevered construction, the project came at a premium, but the owner was on-board to see it built.

All About the Glass

The blue glass façade incorporates approximately 247,200 square feet of glass and is the dominate feature of the project’s design. Peck explains the color of glass they originally wanted was no longer available, so they had several samples delivered and placed them side-by-side to determine their selection.

“It was a little sight unseen, but we were confident in the selection of the glass color and it turned out better than we thought,” he said.

The glass was supplied by Shanghai YaoHua Tempered Glass Co. Ltd., and the insulating glass units were constructed to meet high and low missile impact requirements.

“There are two counties with the highest grade of hurricane protection by code: high- and low-missile impact and those are Broward and Miami-Dade; the glass has all of those notice of acceptances (NOA),”says Peck.

In addition, LED lighting is integrated into the glass and glazing system, says Peck, making the whole building a fully animated video screen.

Curtainwall Details

Arup consulted on the project, providing the details for the profiles and mullions to create the curve, according to Peck, who adds that each floor has a different angle.

A post-tension slab system was used for levels four through 28 of the building, which allowed for thin floor plates. This made the curtainwall installation easier, according to information provided by the structural engineering firm DeSimone Consulting Engineers. The firm also adds that if a reinforced concrete slab had been used instead, the added thickness would have conflicted with the curve of the glass and the intended shape may not have been achievable.

NR Windows in West Palm Beach, Fla., helped design, fabricate and install the curtainwall for the building. It features a custom hurricane impact curtainwall system tested to Miami-Dade County protocol with integrated LED lighting. The custom-designed guitar string system also includes integrated LED lighting, creating the neck of the guitar. In addition, NR custom designed a multitrack lift and slide glass door tested to Miami-Dade County protocol to meet the hurricane impact requirements.

“The design focus was given to the smooth vertical and horizontal curvature. To achieve the required curvature, NR designed a custom two-piece horizontal and segmented
vertical curtainwall. This is the first time it has been done in Florida to meet the hurricane impact requirements per Miami-Dade County protocol,” says Ishrat Sultana, office
manager of NR Windows. “The corner units were designed to be installed as one piece, for easy install and better quality control. Special equipment was designed to handle
this installation.”

A Look Inside

While the exterior is certainly a showstopper, the interior also features some unique glazing applications. Inside the lobby is a 24-foot tall segmented glass waterfall which Al Farooq Corp. designed with Faour Glass Technologies. Al Farooq senior project manager Hammad Muzaffar says the design was complex because it’s a long, curved system of glass with the dynamic loads from water added to it. The glass has a radius of 40 feet and is supported by a mullion-less system at the head and sill.

Faour’s Slimpact XL and pivot door systems were used for the hotel entrance and adjacent storefront. Al Farooq worked with Faour to engineer the project. Slimpact was used for approximately 2,200 total square feet of the project.

Muzaffar says his company had to create additional plate designs and connection detailing to get the system to work according to Florida codes, which have strict hurricane ratings.

While it’s the guitar that’s been getting the most attention, Peck points out the tower is just one part of the Hard Rock’s expansion.

“This is just one component of the whole project. It stands out because of its uniqueness, but we still have over 100,000 square feet of casino remodeling, and another 75,000 square foot casino addition, plus all the other amenities of multiple retail stores, restaurants, meeting/ballroom space, a 6,500 seat arena, etc.,” he says. “Everyone is enamored with the tower, but that’s just one piece and a part of it all. By the
time we finish and add in everything else … we’ve got 250,000 square feet of amenities.”

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