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Home / Site visit: The Opus by Omniyat, Dubai

Site visit: The Opus by Omniyat, Dubai

by Jumana Abdel-Razzaq on May 6, 2017


The Opus resembles a melted ice cube, owing to its distinctive void.
The Opus resembles a melted ice cube, owing to its distinctive void.

RELATED ARTICLES: In Pictures: Zaha Hadid's The Opus on track | Video: BSBG's Scott Orwin on designing 'The Opus' | DSI sells stake in One Palm project to Omniyat

The project’s residential section will feature a total of 96 fully furnished one-, two-, and three-bedroom hotel apartments, also designed by Hadid. Among these units will be penthouse apartments with balconies and private rooftop gardens. The final apartment sizes are currently under revision.

Commenting on the project’s repurposing, Orwin says: “The Opus was redesigned internally to modify its uses from a commercial-only development to a true, mixed-use project. This took place in 2008.”

The redesigned structure includes a five-star hotel that will operate as the ME By Meliá – a brand that also boasts branches in London, Madrid, Cancún, Cabo, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Milan. While the hospitality area of the project has yet to be fitted-out, it will boast a curved and fluid design, much like that of the rest of the building. A completion date for this section has not yet been announced. Nevertheless, Orwin says that the client is exploring options to integrate its fit-out to ensure the hotel areas and residential components are completed quickly.

“I think the owner took the view that in 2008, when everything stopped, it was then a great time to relaunch the project and offer a hotel component,” he says. “The challenge with that, however, was redesigning the core of the building, [taking into consideration] the structure that was being built.

“When you change uses, you also have to consider the different entry and access points, as well as [service delivery] requirements, among other things,” he adds. “Hotels are very structured in their requirements, so getting all [of the elements] within an existing tower core, with existing lifts and access requirements and escape provisions, and working with the authorities to accept these changes, is very challenging.”

The required permitting revisions were carried out during the construction phase, so a close design partnership between the project’s stakeholders and Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) was necessary.

Ultimately, BSBG and its fellow stakeholders have succeeded in bringing Hadid’s vision to life.

“We were very fortunate to work with Zaha Hadid Architects,” says Orwin. “The studio was brought in very early [in the development process] to design the concept and form at the time when it was just an office building. [In turn, BSBG] was [enlisted] to partner with Hadid to make sure that the design and direction of the architecture was realised in the structure’s built form.”

Now that The Opus is nearing completion, what’s next for the BSBG team? Encouragingly, Orwin says the consultancy has plenty of additional work on its plate. He concludes: “We are currently working on a number of other UAE projects, including the residential component of Meraas’s Bluewaters Island in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), and ICD Brookfield Place, a 53-storey commercial building located in the heart of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). We also supported the development of The Beach, a recently completed project, which was also developed by Meraas.”



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