What is it that makes for a truly worthwhile piece of architecture? Is it size? The logistics of the structure? The expense or the originality of the design? The is a topic which has been debated for centuries and will continue to be debated well into the future.
While there’s no such thing as the “perfect” piece of architecture, some buildings are most certainly bolder and more ambitious than others. One type of building which continues to push boundaries and spark intense debate is the casino.
Casinos, especially the new generation of mega-resorts popping up like dandelions in Las Vegas and Macau, represent the pinnacle of architectural ambition. While these structures are never without controversy, they can never be accused of being unimaginative or dull.
While all casino buildings are different, they share many things in common. Here are the key guiding architectural principles behind every big casino.
Perhaps the most obvious starting point is the monstrous scale of many casinos. Some of the largest structures on Earth (by square footage) are casinos, and the reasons for this go beyond simply making space for thousands of slot machines. The goal of the architecture is to inspire awe and whimsy, to give the impression of a never-ending pleasure palace where all visitor’s dream come true. This cannot be achieved with pokey buildings.
People may be quick to dismiss casinos designs as gaudy, but the architects behind them often show themselves to have a very keen understanding of current cultural trends. The soaring Wynn Macau building (pictured) is a visualization of the “China dream” philosophy that is currently sweeping through the country. Meanwhile, the Americana curves of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, or the sleek lines of Planet Hollywood are all nods to the cultural atmosphere in which these buildings were constructed.
It should come as no surprise that casino design is intended to keep people playing, meaning simply leaving the casino floor can be a difficult feat. While certainly clever, this design can be offputting to many casino fans, which partly explains the rise in online casino gaming, which offers gamers more freedom. New online casinos are able to offer the thousands of games available in a land-based casino without taking up any space, which may explain why punters are opting to go wild with this newest brand of online casino. The labyrinthine design of land-based casinos is almost completely to their detriment.
Much like the palatial designs of the Moscow Metro, casinos are designed to bring over-the-top opulence to the masses. Anyone can walk into a casino and be awestruck by the vast marble columns, sparkling chandeliers, and decadent features such as shark tanks, champagne fountains, and infinity pools located 50 storeys high. Everyone from the most casual slot player to the million-dollar per hand poker player is made to feel like a high roller, regardless of what they spend.
Casinos get a lot of bad press for supposedly being gaudy and tacky, but they are always inspiring. The fact that every new big casino opening is always passionately discussed in architectual circles should tell you all you need to know.