Morpheus Hotel Project
IMAGES COURTESY OF ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS
“Morpheus evolved from its unique environment and site conditions as a new architecture, expressly of this city.”
—Viviana Muscettola, project lead, Zaha Hadid Architects
The Morpheus Hotel project faced constraints from the start: First, the project site was a relatively small 6,850 square meters (73,700 square feet), the last parcel of available land squeezed into the entertainment district known as the Cotai Strip in Macau. The next issue was structural: The foundation had already been set, in preparation for a high-rise housing complex, before that project was ultimately abandoned. The dimensions of the new building were literally set in stone before the designers, Zaha Hadid Architects, even put pen to paper in 2012.
The solution, the project team realized, was to modify and extend the existing foundation to fit the weight and shape of the much larger hotel project. They then inverted the new building's design, moving its structural supports externally to maximize interior space. The result is the world's first free-form high-rise exoskeleton, with a lattice-like frame that doesn't only give the 40-story hotel a distinctive look but also bears significant gravitational and lateral loads. The unique design became a fitting legacy, when celebrated architect Zaha Hadid died during the project's execution phase, two years before its completion. The hotel became one of the final projects with which she was intimately involved.
PROJECT: Morpheus Hotel
BUDGET: US$1.1 billion
COMPLETED: June 2018
GOING UP: The building's atrium includes 12 glass elevators, which provide views of both the hotel's interior and exterior.