4 Beautifully Designed Nautical Buildings

Waking along any given coastline, it appears that, at times, the inspiration for water-adjacent architecture is more conceptual, dramatic, and impactful than for traditional structures. Perhaps the inspiration comes from a distinctive set of styles that can only be found floating upon bodies of water. Which is why architects the world over have designed coastal buildings with the same graceful curves of the sails on a yacht. It’s only fitting that some of the most elegant sea vessels would inspire architects.

IAC Building (New York)

Located in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, the IAC Building by legendary architect Frank Gehry features a gently twisting clear and white glass facade inspired by the billowing sails of a yacht.

Burj Al Arab (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Built on a manmade island off the coast of Dubai, the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel was designed by architect Tom Wright to resemble a J-class yacht.

Kobe Maritime Museum (Kobe, Japan)

Opened in 1987, the Kobe Maritime Museum in the namesake city of Japan features a swooping roofline of white steel latticework reminiscent of three wind-filled sails. At night, the structure is sometimes lit up in different colors, like green, orange, or pink.

Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

The Quadracci Pavilion, one of three buildings that make up Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Art Museum, was designed by visionary architect Santiago Calatrava with a glass-enclosed reception hall in the shape of a boat’s prow.