morpheus, a new flagship hotel for macau’s city of dreams resort, has opened its doors to guests. designed by zaha hadid architects (ZHA), the project’s distinctive appearance is informed by the fluid forms found within china’s rich jade carving traditions. conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through the building’s center. this creates what the architects describe as an ‘urban window’, a void designed to connect the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city.

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
morpheus is a new flagship hotel for macau’s city of dreams resort
image © ivan dupont (also main image)



located in cotai, macau, the striking building forms part of city of dreams, a resort that includes a casino, two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants, and four hotels. the morpheus hotel is connected to the resort via a three-storey podium, with its upper levels containing 770 guest rooms as well as various suites and sky villas. civic spaces are also included, with meeting and event facilities, gaming rooms, and restaurants joining the spa and rooftop pool.

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
the project’s distinctive appearance is informed by jade carving traditions
image © virgile simon bertrand



in developing the project ZHA used the site’s existing foundations to define the shape of the 40-storey building, which stands at a total height of 160 meters. the monolithic block was then ‘carved’ with voids that lend the scheme its dramatic appearance. these spaces also shape the hotel’s internal public spaces, creating corner suites with views of both the atrium and the city. this arrangement maximizes the number of hotel rooms with external views, and guarantees an equal room distribution on either side of the building. meanwhile, 12 glass elevators provide guests with sightlines of the hotel as they travel vertically.

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
the dramatic lobby at the building’s lower level
image © virgile simon bertrand



the world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton optimizes the interiors by creating spaces that are uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. ‘morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,’ explains viviana muscettola, ZHA’s project director. ‘the design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies. 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.’

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
‘the design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies,’ says ZHA
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
glass elevators provide guests with views of the hotel as they travel vertically
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
restaurants are found as part of the scheme
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
the building’s exoskeleton is visible internally
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
meeting and event facilities, as well as gaming rooms, are also included
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
the hotel’s spa and rooftop pool
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
a series of voids is carved through the building’s center
image © virgile simon bertrand

zaha hadid morpheus hotel
located in cotai, macau, the building forms part of city of dreams resort
image © virgile simon bertrand



project info:


project team
client: melco resorts and entertainment
architect: zaha hadid architects (ZHA)
design: zaha hadid and patrik schumacher
ZHA project directors: viviana muscettola, michele pasca di magliano
ZHA facade director: paolo matteuzzi
ZHA project architects: michele salvi, bianca cheung, maria loreto flores,clara martins
ZHA project team: miron mutyaba, milind khade, pierandrea angius, massimo napoleoni, stefano iacopini, davide del giudice, luciano letteriello, luis migue samanez, cyril manyara, alvin triestanto, muhammed shameel, goswin rothenthal, santiago fernandez- achury, vahid eshraghi, melika aljukic
ZHA interior team: daniel fiser, thomas sonder, daniel coley, yooyeon noh, jinqi huang, mirta bilos, alexander kuroda, gaganjit singh, marina martinez, shajay bhooshan, henry louth, filippo nassetti, david reeves, marko gligorov, neil ridgen, milica pihler-mirjanic, grace chung, mario mattia, mariagrazia lanza
ZHA concept team: viviana muscettola, tiago correia, clara martins, maria loreto flores, victor orive, danilo arsic, ines fontoura, fabiano costinanza, rafael gonzalez, muhammed shameel


executive architect: leigh and orange, hong kong
local architect: CAA city planning and engineering consultants, macau
structural engineering: buro happold international, london/hong kong
mechanical and electrical engineering: j. roger preston
facade engineering: buro happold international, hong kong
third party reviewer: rolf jensen and associates
other interior designers:
– remedios studio, hong kong – guestrooms, L01 VIP lobby, L03 spa and gym, L40 pool deck and pool villas
– westar architects international – L02 gaming areas and li ying restaurant, L42 gaming salons
– jouin manku – L03 alain ducasse restaurant
– MC design – L30 executive lounge
– leigh and orange, macau – BOH areas
quantity surveyor: WT partnership, hong kong
lighting design: isometrix, london/hong kong
fire engineering: arup, hong kong
acoustic consultant: shen milson and wilke, hong kong
traffic engineer: MVA hong kong


main contractor: dragages macau, hong kong (a member of the bouygues construction group)
facade contractors:
– jangho curtain wall macau – flat area glass system
– HACELY facade engineering – flat area exoskeleton cladding
– kyotec hong kong – freeform area glass and exoskeleton cladding
– front, hong kong – freeform exoskeleton cladding design for kyotec
– creative lighting asia macau –facade lighting
facade maintenance: flyservices engineering, italy
interior contractors:
– san fong seng construction and engineering – L00 car park area and boh office
– pat davie (macau) – L01 lobby and porte cochere and atrium feature wall, L03 restaurant ‘alan ducasse’
– ICON projects – L02 gaming and li yi lounge
– san fong seng construction and engineering co – L03 spa
– sundart engineering services (macau) – L05-L38 guest room typical floor, L21 chinese restaurant, L23 art gallery
– jangho – L01 lounge bar pavillion
– UAP – L21 and L30 dining pods
– woodmate (macau) company – L30 executive lounge, L40 pool deck and pool villa, L01 retail street
– woody construction and decoration co – L41-42 gaming villa
– OTIS elevator company (HK)– 12 no. scenic lift
– EHY construction and engineering –corewall GRG cladding and GRG ceiling at L19/L29/L38

  • I like it, the glazing will leak.

    Scott LaRose says:
  • “Makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies….” Sure looks like “base-middle-top” to me.

    Mike Brady says:
  • Surely the first highrise exoskeleton building was the 300m tall Burj al Arab in Dubai. With the external support structure the shape of sail and the longest external diagonal bracing trusses on any building it can also be classed as freeform. Completed in 1999 the Burj is still as impressive as when first opened.

    Martin Jochman says:

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