9 Iconic Buildings Inspired By Music

Some of us work in them, others of us design or create them, and the rest of us mumble to ourselves angrily that they’ve obscured our view to the ocean – buildings. Buildings have been around since the dawn of mankind, in virtually all shapes and forms. We all have our dream homes, our ideal office spaces, or a place to getaway to. As lovers of music, to combine our passion for the pure serenity of music with the intelligence of human architecture is something we can all pause to both appreciate and celebrate. So here’s to the dreamers, the visionaries, the ones with a spark of creativity who see the world in ways many of us could only dream of. Presenting, the world’s best buildings inspired by music and designed by architecture.

1. Grand Guitar – Bristol, Tennessee, USA


Grand Guitar

This monumental building in the shape of a guitar is a museum, music and gift shop all in one. It features a collection of instruments including all kinds of guitars, violins, and banjos. It is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world, and measures 70 feet in length and is three-stories high.

2. Old Schmitt Music Building – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Old Schmitt Music Building

Schmitt Music Company (also known as Schmitt’s) is one of the United States largest full-service music retailers. When the company relocated its headquarters to Minnesota to a six-storey building, the owner wanted one of the sides of the building to represent the essence of the brand. It was decided that a mural would be painted as an advertisement for the Schmitt brand. In case you were wondering, the piece on the wall is from Maurice Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit”.

3. Daeyang Gallery and House – Seoul, South Korea

Daeyang Gallery and House

Designed by Steven Holl Architects, this beautiful art gallery is located in Seoul, South Korea. The roof of this building draws its inspiration from Hungarian composer Istvan Anhalt’s sketch of a musical score titled “Symphony of Modules”.

4. Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome – New Orleans, Lousiana, USA


Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome

The clarinet was commissioned by hotel developers to mural artist Robert Dafford of Lafayette as a dedication to the city of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. The mural depicts a black Albert system clarinet which was popular back in the 1920s hey day. Putting the pizzazz in jazz.

5. Dancing House – Prague, Czech Republic


Dancing House

No, your eyes are perfectly fine, this is a real building located in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. Designed by architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry, it is also nicknamed “Fred and Ginger” in reference to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rose. If you look closely you can see semblances of a dancer in a dress and a man in a hat. The building, more widely known as the “Dancing House“, was to be symbolic of Czechoslovakia’s transition from a communist regime to a parliamentary democracy.

6. Piano & Violin House – Shannan, Huainan, China


Piano & Violin House

Located in Huainan, China is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. A glass violin leaning against a piano built to a scale of 50:1. Designed by Hefei University of Technology, this has been dubbed the most romantic place in China by locals. The violin acts as the main entrance and is serviced by stairs and an escalator to the piano on the upper floor. Just check out that mood lighting.

7. Chimes – Exeter, England



A house designed specifically for pianos. That’s what architect David Sheppard was tasked by his client to do. Many of us would try and fit our pianos around our home, but this lucky owner had her home designed to house her pianos specifically. Titled “Chimes” this building was inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s concept of eurythmy, which is an expression of movement in art and music.

8. Kunsthofpassage Funnel Wall – Dresden, Germany


Kunsthofpassage Funnel Wall

Somewhere in central Europe, in a little place in the German city of Dresden is a wall which plays music to passers by whenever it rains. The instruments themselves are attached to the walls and feature a series of metal cones of various sizes along with funnels which combine to create “rain music”. Collaboratively designed by Christoph Roßner, Annette Paul, and Andre Tempel, singin’ in the rain never sounded so good before.

9. The Music Box – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA


The Music Box

The first of its kind, The Music Box is musical architecture at its most active. The organization Airlift constructed a set of houses that incorporate New Orleans vibrant musical history into buildings where they themselves, in turn, become instruments of their own. Music can be created from parts in the floors, walls and even the ceilings. Not only does this miniature village feature shows, but can also be transported to go on tour. Who said you had to leave home while touring?

Honourable Mention:

Sea Organ – Zadar, Croatia.

Though not a building strictly speaking, this piece combines not only music and architecture, but nature itself. Designed by architect Nikola Bašić, it features a system of polythene tubes and a resonating cavity which turn it into a large active musical instrument, played by the wind and the sea. Oh, bliss.

So what do you think readers? Are you inspired to create a funky new bucket list of places to see? Know of any other buildings or places inspired by music that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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