Reflections & Transparency

Exploring the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior, the design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid in which she created both its architecture and interiors

design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid

Fact File

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher, Christos Passas
ZHA Design Director: Christos Passas
Photography: Laurian Ghinitoiu

design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid

Home to the new ME Dubai hotel, the Opus is located in the Burj Khalifa district of Dubai. Spanning 907,400 sqft, the Opus is 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. 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-metre-wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground. “The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The cube’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasizes the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid

The void’s 6,000 sqm façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and 2 layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm 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.


design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid
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. Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel and fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy. Hotel guests receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers are installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.


design of Opus is by Ar. Zaha Hadid
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