Dubai Opera House

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Dubai Opera House
Artist's Rendition
General information
Type Arts Complex and Hotel
Architectural style Post-Modern (Deconstructive)
Location The Lagoons, Dubai, UAE
Construction started TBA
Completed TBA
Technical details
Floor area 300 000 m2 (Art Gallery: 5 000 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Structural engineer Keith Jones
Services engineer Tim Thornton
Other designers Christine Chow, Lourdes Sanchez, Yiching Liu, Swati Sharma, Tyen Masten, Simone Fuchs, Johannes Schafelner [1]

Before the 2008 property crash hit Dubai,[2] the Dubai Opera House was scheduled to be the cultural centre of the proposed Lagoons district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates with preparatory work underway in anticipation of groundbreaking.[3] This development will accommodate an opera house with a 2,500 seating capacity, an 800-seat playhouse, a 5,000-square-metre (54,000 sq ft) arts gallery, a performing arts school, and a '6-star' themed hotel on a purpose-built island in Dubai Creek.[1] It is also said that it will feature two libraries, an outdoor theatre, and a marina.[4] However, virtually no work has taken place for the Lagoons master development, and no funding is currently available for it. In 2012, Emaar announced an alternative Opera House and performing arts centre as a part of new cultural district in Downtown Dubai.[2][5]


Zaha Hadid and her design team, in collaboration with Patrik Schumacher won the competition for the opera house with their design, beating off competition from, amongst others, architects Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel . Hadid's team describe the project as:[6]

"The proposal houses all of the facilities within a single striking structure. The gentle winding form evokes images of mountains or sand dunes. Rising out of the ground, this form is both a part of the landscape yet very much a distinct element in the skyline. The surrounding landscape forms build up to the main building."

Physical Attributes[edit]

The two peaks correspond to the opera house and the playhouse. The tall requirements of the fly towers are nested under these peaks. From these peaks, the form gradually swoops down to touch the earth. The form is scalloped away where the three major entrances are to be found. The main entrances for audiences visiting either of the two performing arts auditoria are on the north side of the building. At the ground level will be the VIP entrance with car drop off right at the entrance and a separate foyer from the main foyer. This foyer serves both the opera house and the playhouse. The main foyer is a gentle multi-tiered landscape at one floor above the ground floor. It also serves the opera house and the playhouse, as well as having an interior connection to the arts gallery.

Floating above this foyer are further foyer spaces serving the balcony levels. The foyer levels from the main foyer level up are visually connected to each other through a series of voids. This allows for direct views between the main foyer at the first floor all the way up to the highest balcony foyer.

The auditoria are contained in flowing shapes that seem to emerge from the underside of the main shell. This inner shell however, does not quite touch the main shell. Instead, the two surfaces disappear into a light gap between them. Supporting functions found off the foyer are defined by walls that merge into the underside of the main shell. The interiors of the project continue the same calm design with white surfaces and smoothly curving edges.

Other Structures[edit]

All of the mentioned facilities are housed within the single structure, which will be linked to the mainland by road and monorail. A number of more modest outbuildings ring the complex housing such things as a monorail station and car parks that help build the height up as scheme approaches its centre to create a 'flowing' look, peaking at the opera house and playhouse.[7]


Coordinates: 25°12′25″N 55°20′39″E / 25.20694°N 55.34417°E / 25.20694; 55.34417