Expressive Construction

Expressive Construction

As the pace of life quickens, structures for work, life and leisure are required to become more adaptable. Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) latest project, Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams, Macau, offers a solution. The building’s striking facade is complemented by flexible interiors, constructed to accommodate the changing requirements of guests within the hotel’s rich social and cultural programme.

Building on the existing foundations of a former project, ZHA designed the Morpheus as an extension of its past, reinventing what had come before through innovative engineering. This extrusion formed a monolithic block, which was then adapted to create the final shape.

In terms of the façade, ZHA take a signature sculptural approach, carving a series of spaces through the centre of the structure. Offering a window between the hotel’s communal areas and the wider city, these “voids” offer spatial cohesion, removing the boundaries between inside and outside and adding a unique visual element to the skyline.

Morpheus’ edifice – whilst making no reference to traditional architectural typologies – evokes an organic aesthetic through its exoskeleton, which is the first of its kind. Remaining informed by the fluidity of China’s rich jade carving tradition, the space is deeply rooted in the city’s creative history. As Project Director Viviana Muscettola explains: “Macau’s buildings have previously referenced architecture styles from around the world. Morpheus has evolved from its unique environment and site conditions as a new architecture expressly of this city.”

Holding connectivity at its core, the project makes use of features such as glass walls and uninterrupted areas to offer an adjustable and open-plan environment. Muscettola continues: “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form… The model combines all of the hotel’s aesthetic, structural and fabrication requirements and will radically change how our built environment is planned and constructed.”

The firm is known for taking a bold approach to design, continuing Hadid’s (1950-2016) legacy by pushing the boundaries of geometry to create expressive shapes. Key buildings include Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku Azerbaijan, which takes the outline of a sweeping wave, and the MAXXI museum, Rome, which comprises intersecting and overlapping forms.

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1. All images by Ivan Dupont