Architecture Isn’t Just Background. Sometimes It’s the Hero (Image).

Architecture of the old town in Mtskheta, Georgia by master1305

Hero images – the eye-catching header image or full page background – are huge right now, and rightly so. They frame and contextualise your content. They provide interesting backgrounds for sites that don’t require a lot of text.

For more on this, you should start here:

But the hero doesn’t always have to be a caped crusader or morally ambiguous jewel thief, and characters don’t always have to be people.

Gotham City frames Batman. It contextualises his fight against crime. It provides the colour palate and tone of the comics and movies. While location is important in most stories, Gotham’s overtones elevate it to its own character.

Vehicles are easier to categorise as characters: KITT, the DeLorean, or the USS Enterprise are easy examples. The Doctor’s TARDIS, however, is a worthy addition because of its fluid internal architecture. The interior changes to reflect the mood and characteristics of the incumbent Doctor. Along the years we’ve seen severe, simple sets, sprawling gothic inspired rooms, and complicated coral formations.

I mention these to illustrate the possibilities that locations and architecture provide for strong Hero Images. Architecture inspires emotion. It prompts memory and association.

And sometimes they’re not just fantastic feats of engineering and science. Sometimes they’re art. That means there’s something to suit every theme and colour palette. Just take a look at some of these, and how you might use them.

While there’s plenty of themes geared toward architects, real estate and travel that obviously utilise great architecture images – such as BellevueAmbient, and Maison – what we’re looking at here are great templates that utilise architecture for theme.



DynamiX is a dynamic business WordPress theme. It offers and supports a range of options that will suit your purpose. It’s the perfect example of a site utilising a strong architectural background image. The slow zoom following the parallel lines of the buildings draws the viewer into the site and holds their attention in the central space.

You can visit the live preview to experience this theme yourself.

For something similar, you should have a look at Jarvis, Flashlight, and Incidental.


The WordPress template FlexForm demonstrates how interesting geometric repetition in particularly crafty architecture can be used as eye-catching headers. The glass and steel image provides a corporate feel that doesn’t overpower the site. Images such as this cool blue commercial London architecture, or this modern office facade could be easily utilised in similar ways.

The Elysium theme also shows how photographed geometric patterns can be used to great effect.


The LawBusiness theme also uses a strong central image, rather than a header or background. This WordPress theme is geared toward legal practitioners, of course, but it shows how architecture can provide mood and support the theme of the site.


Once you’ve picked a theme you’ll find there’s a huge amount of architecture images available. As I said before, there’s something to suit every theme and palate. Here’s but a tiny sample to inspire your next big website.

Commercial Architecture

Close up of modern commercial architecture in London, UK by pawopa3336

Framed properly, certain angles highlight the geometric patterns in some expertly designed buildings…


rooftops by nelsonart

…while at a distance, multiple buildings can have the same effect.

Close up of Riga bridge

Close up of bridge, Riga by magone

A unique view of a familiar landmark can keep it fresh on your site. This one works in a similar way to the DynamiX example, drawing the viewer to the white space to the right.

New York Skyline

New York City Manhattan skyline by dibrova

This fantastic image of New York has a range of colours that could suit a variety of sites. Full size it would be a strong background image, while cropped it could be a bold header.

City Square, Modern

City Square Modern Architecture by liufuyu

The muted colours of this scene make it a great background image, and there’s still plenty of white space for text.

Colorful Facades

Colorful Facades by jkraft5

This colourful colonial Columbian cityscape would add a splash of life to the right site.

Dubai downtown in Fog

Dubai downtown in fog by Anna_Om

The eeriness and the white/blue palate of a foggy Dubai evoke an unusual otherworldliness.

Santa Cruz Breakwater Light (Walton Lighthouse)

Santa Cruz Breakwater Light (Walton Lighthouse) by haveseen

This desolate image of the Walton lighthouse has plenty of white space for your text and headings.

Windmill in Winter

Windmill in a winter landscape by iPics

Winter is here in this cold shot of an imposing windmill. As with the Walton lighthouse, there’s plenty of white space to utilize without impacting the integrity of the image.

Unfinished abandoned concrete building facade

Unfinished abandoned concrete building facade by stevanovicigor

If you write crime fiction, this tantalisingly creepy abandoned building could be the backdrop for your next case.

Have a look at our Website themes and Architecture Images for more inspiration.

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Tyson Pink

About the Author Tyson Pink

Tyson is a freelance writer and editor, and LEGO tragic. He drinks too much coffee. You can find him at his website, or follow him on Twitter.