Located within Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, the Opus by Zaha Hadid Architects for Omniyat will house the first ‘ME by Melia’ hotel in the Middle East. Operated by Melia Hotels International, one of the world’s leading hoteliers with more than 350 hotels in 39 countries, ‘ME by Melia’ hotels are located in cultural capitals across the globe with their progressive, design-driven approach.
The Opus is designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole— taking the form of a cube. The cube is then ‘carved’, creating a central void that is an important volume within the building in its own right—providing views to the exterior from the centre of the building. The free-formed fluidity of this eight-storey void contrasts with the precise orthogonal geometry of the surrounding cube.
The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level with a bridge connecting 71 metres above the ground. This three-storey, asymmetric bridge is 38 metres wide. Together with the ME Dubai, the Opus will house 12 restaurants as well as a rooftop bar and 56,000 sq. ft. of office space.
“The Opus will be aligned with Omniyat’s vision of treating each project as if it were a unique work of art,” said Mahdi Amjad, Executive Chairman and CEO of Omniyat. “The design conveys the remarkably inventive quality of ZHA’s work; expressing a sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.”
“You always expect to be surprised by ZHA’s designs, but the Opus for ‘ME by Melia’ Dubai goes beyond what we could ever have anticipated. We are proud to have this amazing project in our portfolio,” explained Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO, Meliá Hotels International at the earlier announcement of ME Dubai to be located at the Opus.
From the Facade Engineers
This Zaha Hadid design has tested our engineers’ skills unlike any other. In the constant search for original designs that truly push the limits, many building projects in the Middle East are in fact driving innovation in engineering design.
The appearance of the Opus derives from the architect, world famous Zaha Hadid, sinking a hot poker into a cube of ice to create an irregular, curved void in the middle. The design of the Opus was performed in close cooperation between the architect and our façades, building services, fire & safety and structural engineers.
Due to its shape, the Opus proved to be a challenging project for our façade team. Massive façades of darkened curved glass face each other across the void in the middle of the building, appearing as a continuous, fluid surface. In reality, the surface is a combination of glass with varying thickness, bent in different ways and fitted by using several techniques seamed together invisibly.
Moreover, due to extreme climate conditions, we needed to use glass processing technology from the automotive industry to provide solutions for the spherical double curved glass used – something that had never been done in this region before.
The unique appearance of The Opus derives from an unusual source of inspiration: the architect sank a hot poker into a cube of ice to create an irregular, curved void.
The office building designed as a result is U-shaped in plan. It consists of two towers set approximately 50m apart and linked from the 20th floor upwards by a five storey bridge. Massive façades of darkened curved glass face each other across the void.
In the original concept, transparent façade glazing was intended — but this, given Dubai’s climate and conditions, would not have complied with local building codes. Our building services team worked closely with our façades engineers, using solar and daylight modelling to arrive at a solution that is practical, compliant and aesthetically appropriate.
In addition, we made use of the ready availability of sunlight to provide solar hot water heating for the building. Clever use of the local district cooling system enabled us to cut the energy required for cooling by 10-15%.
The project consists of two 20 story towers connected by a bridge, with the inner facades forming a seamless fluid glass surface, resembling melted ice.
Following Agnes’s involvement at design stage, we have finalized the system design, materials, technologies used, developed system integrated external lighting, addressed changes to the geometry. We also review the contractor’s design, attend design workshops, performance testing, carry out site inspections.
A visionary project – achieving this geometry has pushed the technical limitations of the industry. Flat, single curved, cold bent and hot bent glazing has been applied, in seamless integration, within wall, skylight and soffit systems, to create the double curved void surface.
Undoubtedly one of the most challenging project in the region, we were using advanced 3D computing technology and building on our earlier experience and research work in freeform glazing methods.
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Category: Mixed Use Architecture
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher, Christos Passas
ZHA Design Director: Christos Passas
Area: 84345.0 m2
Project Year: 2019
Photographs: Laurian Ghinitoiu
Competition Team: Christos Passas (Lead Designer), Paul Peyrer-Heimstaett, Alvin Huang, Daniel Baerlecken, Gemma Douglas, Saleem Al-Jalil
Design Team (Shell and Core): Vincent Nowak (Project Architect), Dimitris Akritopoulos, Javier Ernesto-Lebie, Paul Peyrer-Heimstaett, Sylvia Georgiadou, Phivos Skroumbelos, Marilena Sophocleous, Chiara Ferrari, Thomas Frings, Jesus Garate, Wenyuan Peng
Base Built Supervision Team: Fabian Hecker (Team Leader), Barbara Bochnak (Team Leader), Tomasz Starczewski, Kwanphil Cho, Bruno Pereira, Dimitris Kolonis
Project Management: Gleeds (London), Omniyat (Dubai)
Local Architects: Arex Consultants (Dubai) BSBG (Dubai)
Hotel and Apartment Interior Design Team 1: Reza Esmaeeli, Bozana Komljenovic (Project Leads), Laura Micalizzi, Emily Rohrer (Senior Interior Designers), Veronika Ilinskaya, Eider Fernandez Eibar, Stella Nikolakaki, Bruno Pereira, Raul Forsoni, Thomas Frings, Chrysi Fradellou, Spyridon Kaprinis, Alexandra Fischer, Hendrik Rupp, Vivian Pashiali, Sofia Papageorgiou, Carlos Luna, Christos Sazos, Kwanphil Cho, Andri Shalou, Ben Kikkawa, Melhem Sfeir, Faten el Meri, Eleni Mente (Landscape Designer)
Hotel and Apartment Interior Design Team 2: Alessio Constantino (Project Lead), Sonia Renehan (Senior Interior Designer), Afsoon Es Haghi, Zsuzsanna Barat, Ekaterina Smirnova, Chafic Zerrouki, Nessma Al Ghoussein, Christina Christodoulidou
Bespoke Furniture Team: Maha Kutay (Project Director), Margherita Valova, Reza Esmaeeli, Raul Forsoni, Bruno Pereira, Carine Posner, Filipa Gomes
Structural Engineers: Whitbybird (London) BG&E (Dubai)
MEP Engineers: Clarke Samadin (Dubai)
Façade Engineers: Whitbybird (London) Agnes Koltay Facades (Dubai)
Lift Consultants: Adam Scott, Roger Preston Dynamics (London), Lerch Bates (Dubai)
Fire Engineering: Safe (London)
Design Confidence: PMK (Dubai)
Traffic Consultants: Cansult Limited (Dubai), Al Tourath (Dubai)
Lighting Consultants: Tim Downey, Isometrix (London) , DPA (Dubai), Illuminate (Dubai)
Interior Consultants: HBA (Dubai)
Security Consultants: Control Risks (Dubai)
Kitchen Consultants: MCTS (Dubai)
AV Consultants: EntireTech (Dubai)
QS Consultants: HQS (Dubai)
Facade Contractors: Brookfield Multiplex (London), Alu-Nasa (Dubai])
Hotel Operator: Melia Hotels
Text courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, Koltay Facades and Ramboll