Architecture, The Opus, United Arab Emirates, Zaha Hadid, Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid

Portrait by Brigitte Lacombe

CNN’s latest Inside the Middle East show explores Hadid’s legacy and work in the region

Two years after the death of Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, CNN’s Inside the Middle East show explores the architect’s legacy in the region, including projects such as The Opus in Dubai and Bee’ah Headquarters in Sharjah.

Speaking of the timelessness of Hadid’s buildings, Tariq Khayyat, head of region at Zaha Hadid Architects said: “Time stops. I feel that I’m not sure where I am exactly. I’m not sure which time I am in. Am I in the future? The building itself naturally invites you to explore it, to enjoy it, to love it. That’s the beauty of stepping in Zaha’s buildings.”

He continued: “She kind of introduced a new way of thinking, she liberated the ideas that architecture is not what we’ve been seeing around us for the last hundred years – architecture is about tomorrow, it’s about the future. Zaha already booked her place in the future and she’s asking us to catch up.”

The show also explores some of Hadid’s latest building in the United Arab Emirates, with a particular focus on The Opus tower located in Dubai’s Business Bay and developed by Omniyat.

The Opus by Aldo Amoretti

The Opus’ signature design element is ‘the Void’, which gives the building its distinct shape as well as allowing every space of the building to have a view.

“Of course my personal aspiration was to really affect the city line and contribute to the beauty of the skyline. I went around the world looking for inspiring, successful architects that can help me in this journey, but I must say Zaha took my expectation to a whole different level,” said Mahdi Amjad, CEO of Omniyat.

Amjad also spoke about Hadid’s meticulous attention to detail: “The middle void is actually designed as a melting ice cube, with a tinted blue glass that is actually made of more than 4,500 individual pieces of glass that sit together like a puzzle… She was very particular about this colour.

“We had so many [pieces of glass] chosen and finally were able to achieve this tinted blue that creates this blue water ice effect from outside and gives you the clarity you need from the inside. She wanted this to be completely fluid to create this melting experience of the building.”

The Opus’ spatial functionality was also of vital importance to Hadid, according to Amjad: “She wanted to create a space that is basically very interactive, that people could interact at different levels, and be fun, be exciting spaces, and challenge the norm. Of course, curved has been always the main focus. As one of my engineers were complaining, there’s no straight line in this building.”

Italian photographer Aldo Amoretti had recently captured Hadid’s Opus tower taking shape in Dubai. 

Recent Instagram photos also reveal that the dune-shaped Bee’ah Headquarters is underway in Sharjah. 

You can view the entire segment of the show on Inside the Middle East on CNN’s channel and on CNN International.