World-famous architect Zaha Hadid’s unconventional designs have attracted both fans and critics, but Macau has clearly opted for the “fan” category. Best known for her futuristic, undulating concepts, Hadid is the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize and is no stranger to China. Her designs of the Guangzhou Opera House and a series of SOHO buildings in Beijing are well-known throughout the world. Now, she will soon be adding a Macau structure to her expanding China portfolio: a 40-story sculptural hotel called the City of Dreams is set to grace the global gambling locale’s luxe Cotai strip.
While the media has taken to calling Hadid a “starchitect”—or architect whose celebrity and critical acclaim have transformed her into an architecture icon, her detractors question her celebrity status, accusing her of trading “hubristic, convoluted fantasies,” according to the Guardian.
One example is her award-winning Galaxy SOHO building in Beijing. The city’s preservation watchdog Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center criticized the super-futuristic building for having “destroyed” Beijing’s heritage, according to the Guardian, as it stands starkly in contrast with the surrounding traditional residential hutong neighborhoods.
Macau’s developers seem to have no problem with Hadid’s daring designs, since casino specialist Melco Crown Entertainment hired her to create a 780-room hotel in the high-end Cotai strip. Construction on the latticed structure began in 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2017. Given that Hadid’s hotel will be sharing space alongside the likes of Karl Lagerfeld’s and Versace’s ultra-luxurious hotels, any worries about her design sticking out would probably be unfounded.