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