Opus Dubai by ZHA places a free-form void into the heart of an abstract cube

Zaha Hadid Architects’ Opus Dubai completes glass exterior
Zaha Hadid Architects’ Opus Dubai completes, revealing a free-form void inside a cube.
(Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu)

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is celebrating the exterior completion of Opus, the Omiyat mixed-used development in Dubai. Found in the vicinity of the city's Burj Khalifa district, the Opus building offers a strking new view from every angle, appearing to morph and shift within its own abstract cube outline.

A central free-form void defines the overall building's shape, dividing it into two towers. The four storey atrium at ground level marks the start of the two towers’ upward journey. After that, they separate, twisting poetically as if they had been pulled apart. They’ll meet again at 71m, where an asymmetric, 38m-wide, three-storey bridge connects them on the structure's one side.

Zha Opus Dubai Photo

(Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu)

While organic and soft, the building's form feels futuristic, which is accentuated by its glimmering glass facade. The void opens up mind-bending views of the building inwards upon itself. Its curved inward edges playfully juxtapose the hard exterior edge of the cube.

Mahdi Amjad, Omiyat's executive chairman and CEO is pleased: ‘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.’ 

In 2020, the Opus Dubai will open officially to guests of the ME by Melia hotel – which, if it is anything like the practice's Morpheus Macau that completed in 2018, is certainly set to enthrall. And with 12 restaurants, a rooftop bar and 56,000 sq ft of office space inside it, the building will no doubt become a new attraction for Dubai.

Freeform glass facade

(Image credit: press)

Central void at Opus Dubai

(Image credit: press)



Harriet Thorpe is a writer, journalist and editor covering architecture, design and culture, with particular interest in sustainability, 20th-century architecture and community. After studying History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Journalism at City University in London, she developed her interest in architecture working at Wallpaper* magazine and today contributes to Wallpaper*, The World of Interiors and Icon magazine, amongst other titles. She is author of The Sustainable City (2022, Hoxton Mini Press), a book about sustainable architecture in London, and the Modern Cambridge Map (2023, Blue Crow Media), a map of 20th-century architecture in Cambridge, the city where she grew up.