Purpose built architecture can be required for a number of reasons. For example, hospitals need a specific layout to function properly, as do schools, prisons and office blocks, whereas power plants need to be built from specialised materials in order to remain safe. But what about when it comes to entertainment? It’s easy to consider the architecture of stadiums, concert halls and other venues purely from a capacity-orientated viewpoint, the idea being that the bigger the audience, the better. However, by doing this you leave out how the shape of a building can affect acoustics, how the position of seating can increase an audience’s enjoyment, and how the interior decoration of a building can conjure up the perfect atmosphere.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the entertainment world’s most beautiful architectural triumphs, ranging from concert halls and casinos through to cinemas and stadiums.

Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Perhaps one of the most famous concert halls in the world, the Royal Albert Hall is the crowning glory of London’s entertainment scene. It may have long been surpassed in terms of size and capacity, but it has never lost its sense of elegance and style. Opened in 1871 by none other than Queen Victoria herself, the Hall was named after her beloved late husband, Albert. It represented the realisation of the Prince Consort’s hopes that a permanent venue might be built for facilities related to the Great Exhibition, his brainchild of 1851. Despite the Hall opening a full decade after his death, it was intended as a memorial to Albert. The glass dome itself is a sight to behold, and yet so is the 800 foot long mosaic encircling the entire building; this frieze depicts artistic subjects including music, stone masons, astronomy, and glassmaking. The Hall was designed by two men from the Royal Engineers, except for the recognisable dome, which was the work of Rowland Mason Ordish, who also worked on Crystal Palace 20 years earlier. The Hall is still a working concert venue today, hosting musical concerts, dance recitals, lectures and more using updated modern acoustics and offering an increased number of audience seats.

Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Monaco and its most luxurious quarter, Monte Carlo, have become bywords for extravagance, opulence and comfort of every kind. This reputation is only enriched by one of the city-state’s most famous buildings, the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Built in 1863 and commissioned by the royal family of Monaco, the Casino was always intended to be a splendid affair and it still regularly tops lists as one of the most stunningly beautiful buildings in the entire world. It has served as the backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters like GoldenEye and Ocean’s Twelve, and welcomes thousands of visitors through its doors every year. Although modern table game enthusiasts are perhaps more likely to visit reputable online gaming platforms like Poker Stars Casino than visit an actual brick-and-mortar site, this special piece of Belle Époque architecture still manages to attract fans from all four corners of the globe. The city-state’s Exotic Gardens, Prince’s Palace and Larvotto Beach are all attractive and popular destinations, but it’s the Casino that really draws in the crowds. Inside its extravagant exterior, visitors will find every game they could possibly wish to play, including stud poker, blackjack, baccarat and slot machines. However you feel when you walk through its doors, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling like James Bond himself.

Monte-Carlo
Monte-Carlo

Sydney Opera House, New South Wales, Australia

Perhaps one of the most recognisable silhouettes on this list, the Sydney Opera House is also one of the youngest. It was originally commissioned by the Australian government in 1957, but wasn’t completed until 1973 because of difficulties between the original architect, Jørn Utzon, and politicians involved with the project. It is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by millions of people annually. It is perhaps one of the most famous examples of 20th century architecture in the world and has become synonymous with New Year as celebrations often include fireworks lighting up the sky around its distinctive shape. The most memorable aspect of this build is the shell-like structures that make up the roof; these segments are made mostly from Swedish ceramics and realising their distinctive shape was part of the problem that held up building work during the 1960s. They are self-cleaning and, although they serve no acoustic purpose as is often speculated, they are a pure artistic and creative expression in the architectural form. The building is named as an ‘opera house’ but it does, of course, hold alternative forms of entertainment such as rock concerts, live theatre, speeches, and musicals. It has also appeared in many movies and documentaries to indicate the location of a scene or, indeed, to celebrate Australia and its groundbreaking design.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House