Opus Dubai, UAE


published in l'Arca International n. 156


Opus, Dubai, UAE, project: Zaha Hadid Architects



Home to the new ME Dubai hotel, the Opus is located in the Burj Khalifa district adjacent to Downtown Dubai and Business Bay on the Dubai Water Canal. Exploring the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior, the design was presented by Zaha Hadid in 2007 and is the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors.



Spanning 84,300 m2, the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole, taking the form of a cube. The cube has been “eroded” in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.



The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38 m wide, three-storey bridge 71 m above the ground. The cube’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain.



The void’s 6,000 m2 façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8 mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16 mm cavity between the panes and 2 layers of 6 mm clear glass with a 1.52 mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.



During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.


Longitudinal section


Cross section


Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the “Petalinas” sofas and “Ottomans” pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled.



The “Opus” beds in each bedroom while the “Work & Play” combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The hotel’s bedrooms also incorporate the “Vitae” bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.



The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars.


Lower ground floor plan


Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices.


Client: Omniyat Properties; Hotel Operator: Meliá Hotels; Project: Zaha Hadid Architects; Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher, Christos Passas; ZHA Design Director: Christos Passas; 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; Local Architects: Arex Consultants, BSBG; Structural Engineers: Whitbybird, BG&E; Façade Engineers: Whitbybird, Agnes Koltay Facades; Fire Engineering: Safe, Design Confidence; Acoustic Consultants: PMK; Lighting Consultants: Tim Downey, Isometrix, dpa lighting consultants, Illuminate; Interior Consultants: HBA; Security Consultants: Control Risks; Facade Contractors: Brookfield Multiplex, Alu-Nasa; Photo: ©LaurianGhinitoiu