This article showcases one of those buildings that leaves no one indifferent: the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel is a guitar-shaped hotel inaugurated in October 2019 that has undoubtedly redefined the South Florida skyline. It has 35 floors and more than 137 metres high, and it is outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass panes. We analyse below, among others, why it was decided to use the BIM methodology for the construction of this spectacular building, or why this guitar construction does not have a peg box (as would be expected).
The construction sector never stops surprising us. We have witnessed hotels with the most original and improbable shapes and characteristics: with the aspect of a sail, a boat, a giant ring… and even some that are almost a kilometre high (yes, in Dubai there is one that takes you straight to the clouds).
However, to imagine that someone could stay in a hotel in the shape of a guitar is something that only a music lover would have conceived. Among them, no doubt, is Steve Peck, associate principal of Klai Juba Wald Architects and one of the architects behind the iconic guitar-shaped building located in Florida. According to him, the concept for the instrument first began to take shape in 2007.
35 floors: from the body to the mast
The characteristics, size and magnitude of a project based on a $1.5 billion investment undoubtedly required the team to carefully and cautiously consider the potential cost of the work, as well as the timeline and logistical challenges before making the first move.
In fact, to erect this 137-metre tall habitable mega-guitar, tight controls and flexible designs were applied to achieve the objectives. The construction team, jointly led by Suffolk Construction and Yates Construction, took full advantage of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to control schedules, costs, materials and logistics.
The hotel is part of another huge project: the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, the flagship casino resort of Hard Rock International. This entertainment, gaming and hospitality destination has 1200 rooms (including those in the Guitar Hotel), a “Bora Bora” style lagoon, 19 dining outlets and 20 bars and lounges or an expansive gaming floor with 3,100 slots, 195 table games and a 45-table poker room.
BIM and its stellar performance in cost estimation
As we have already mentioned, one of the key points in tackling a large project such as this was the consideration of costs. In this sense, BIM was presented as the methodology that could provide the most accurate initial and pre-construction estimates of all.
Therefore, since 2016 (when the construction companies Suffolk-Yates were called in) the contractors committed to modelling the project in BIM. Likewise, when the time came to bid for the overall project contract (worth 1.5 billion), the same team also transferred their ideas of going for 4D and 5D dimensions, meaning time planning and cost management, respectively.
On the other hand, Kyle Goebel, Project Manager at Suffolk-Yates, argued that the logistical challenges and the need for precision in the work were so high that the team knew they would need detailed models. Millimetric, if possible. Especially since parts of the project were still in the design phase. At that point, they could not afford to be off-key.
A complex work inside and out
The structure of the tower is actually much more complex than it appears at first glance: It incorporates conventional reinforced walls, slabs and columns to cope with the curves, which are custom-designed to widen or narrow depending on the floor.
From the outset, the architects had to consider many inclined columns (some up to 40 degrees), as well as additional bracing to support the entire structure.
Many have probably wondered why the construction is limited by the principle of the mast. Well, the answer is because the building is within the air ratio of the local airport. In other words, its height is restricted. Therefore, in order to maximise the space available for the hotel rooms, Peck explained that the entire team worked hard to trim metres from wherever they could.
Just because the Hard Rock Hotel does not have a peg box does not mean it has not made it to the top. Quite the contrary: it shows that you do not have to be the tallest or the most rocking to succeed.
Main image source: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood