New Tes­ta­ment

Zaha Ha­did’s very first project in Dubai is due to be un­veiled in the sum­mer of 2018

Bespoke - - WHOA! -

The long road to com­ple­tion for the first project in Dubai of late great Iraqi Pritzk­erPrize-win­ning star­chi­tect, Zaha Ha­did, is draw­ing ever closer with the de­vel­oper say­ing it should now be fin­ished by next sum­mer. “When I es­tab­lished Om­niyat in 2005,” says the de­vel­oper’s founder, Mahdi Am­jad, an Iraqi na­tional of Ira­nian de­scent, “I was mo­ti­vated by my de­sire to de­velop un­com­pro­mis­ing cre­ative sig­na­ture build­ings. And, af­ter just two years into the busi­ness, we se­cured the ser­vices of Dame Ha­did with the ob­jec­tive of cre­at­ing a piece of art in Dubai.” Sadly, plans for the project, which they named The Opus and sit­u­ated in the Busi­ness Bay area, be­tween Sheikh Zayed Road and Burj Khal­ifa, were derailed by the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, and Om­niyat put the build­ing on hold. But those lost years al­lowed for a re­think and although its fluid ex­ter­nal en­ve­lope, which com­prises two tow­ers com­bined to ap­pear like a cube with a void that con­sti­tutes an in­te­gral el­e­ment of the uni­fied whole, re­mains un­changed, the fi­nal plans did ben­e­fit from an­other three years of fur­ther de­vel­op­ment. Changes to The Opus now al­low for 5,000 square me­tres of of­fice space, 12 restau­rants, a rooftop bar, and a night­club in the base­ment. “We also con­verted some of the project into a life­style ho­tel that will be the first of its kind in Dubai and that’s some­thing we are very proud of,” re­veals Am­jad. The ho­tel will be a five-star ME by Meliá of­fer­ing a rel­a­tively small (and un-dubai) num­ber of guest rooms and apart­ments (93 and 60 re­spec­tively). It has also been de­signed from the in­side out by Zaha Ha­did with her sig­na­ture free-forms. And, in a fit­ting trib­ute to Ha­did, whose firm Zaha Ha­did Ar­chi­tects (ZHA) con­tin­ues to forge ahead with Pa­trik Schumacher at the helm, Am­jad has es­tab­lished a fel­low­ship at the Har­vard Grad­u­ate School of De­sign in the architect’s hon­our and as a way of pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial aid to ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents from the Mid­dle East.

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