Design & Architecture

5 UAE Projects by Zaha Hadid

5 UAE Projects by Zaha Hadid

As a tribute to the legendary architect, we recount her contribution to the UAE's most iconic developments.

Words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture · Apr 3rd, 2016

Known worldwide for bringing 'curves' in architecture, both in the shape of her building projects as well as carving a name for women in the male-dominated architect's profession, Zaha Hadid was a force to be reckoned with. Being was an architect of extraordinary calibre, the Iraqi-born and raised Hadid was was a personality that basked a creative mind like no other.

Most famous probably for her work on the Guggenheim museum in New York, she has also made her mark in the Arab world. Her numerous contributions to the Middle East in terms of her work and acting as a source of inspiration has not gone undeterred. Here is how she contributed to the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai through her radical projects:

1) Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Bridge completed in 2010.

Named after the founder of the nation, Hadid designed the famous Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi. The structure took three years to complete in 2010. The two-way four highway bridge linked Abu Dhabi to the northern emirates.  With a fluid look, the project resembles the desert sand dunes and is one of several projects commissioned to Hadid. It spans the Maqta Creek and connects the mainland of Abu Dhabi to the island of Abu Dhabi. Completed in 2010, the bridge features an innovative design inspired by undulating sand dunes. Its futuristic appearance and elegant curves have made it a prominent landmark in the capital city.

2) Signature Towers, Dubai

The initial name for the towers were called 'Dancing Towers'

The Signature Towers in Dubai is an amalgamation of three towers that intertwine; for office, hotel and residence functions. This project was set to sit on the gulf of Business Bay, meshing the fluidity of the water and the lines of the building. Hadid provided the project concept to Dubai Properties in 2007, but to date, we have no idea whether the concept has been canned. These towers were later accommodated to provide easy accessibility to the Dubai Financial Market.

3) Dubai Financial Market

The Dubai Financial Market ceased to afloat, unlike Hadid's plans

There were plans of a Dubai Financial Market attached to Hadid's Signature Towers, but no news have been developed of it since the concept handover in 2007. Shaped like petals on top of water, this project ceased to stay afloat as Hadid would've hoped. The design was set to accommodate broker 'shop fronts' as well as a central floor trading area. 

4) Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre

The project had faced many delays, but is back on track.

The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre is going to be one of the most coveted attractions in the Saadiyat Cultural District of Abu Dhabi. Designed almost like a spaceship, this project pays tribute to the arts with space for five theatres. Hadid described the project as “a sculptural form that emerges from a linear intersection of pedestrian paths within the cultural district, gradually developing into a growing organism that sprouts a network of successive branches. As it winds through the site, the architecture increases in complexity, building up height and depth and achieving multiple summits in the bodies housing the performance spaces, which spring from the structure like fruits on a vine and face westward, toward the water.” We couldn't have said it better. 

4) The Void

The project has now been renamed 'The Opus'

Many admirers of Hadid might consider a void created in their lives. Coincidentally, this was the last project she created for the UAE. Originally named 'The Void', the name was later changed to 'The Opus'. This project in Business Bay is an architectural marvel. This unique project will host both hotels and residences. The interiors are futuristically Hadid, and look much like a perfect set for the next Star Trek movie. ompleted in 2020, it comprises residential apartments, a hotel, offices, and retail spaces. The most distinctive feature of the building is its impressive void, a carved-out cube that seems to float within the structure. This void creates a visually stunning effect. 

One thing will not change however. The fact that Hadid has left her legacy where she was born, in the Middle East.