The 21-storey tower was the vision of the late Zaha Hadid, the celebrated Iraqi-born architect known for her ground-breaking modern designs. Her work on ‘The Opus’ was characteristically ambitious. She envisaged a hollowed-out cube, apparently floating in mid-air – and the finished result is strikingly close to her original idea, pushing physical and technological boundaries to achieve its extraordinary melting ice-cube shape.
Bringing such a bold and outlandish vision to life required world-leading expertise – which is how Edgetech, and its high-performance Super Spacer® TriSeal™, became involved in the project.
Edgetech Managing Director Chris Alderson commented: ‘The Opus is quite simply one of the most staggering and ambitious architectural projects attempted this decade.
“It’s got a 6,000 square-metre flowing glass facade, a curved, 38-metre long, earthquake-proof glass bridge connecting two towers, and at night the structure is lit up by thousands of individually-controlled LEDs. The bridge section weights 1,000 tonnes alone.
“The building’s central ‘void’ section consists of 4,554 irregularly-shaped dark blue IGUs, the vast majority of which were completely unique. The lower end of that void is bordered by a freely formed glass roof over a multi-story atrium.
“All in all, it was an enormous undertaking – requiring 3D modelling accurate down to the last millimetre, curved aluminium profiles, fastening elements and vast numbers of glass units. More than 10,000 individually curved aluminium profiles were supplied from Denmark and the Netherlands, the glass units were produced in three factories in China, and ultimately the entire 3D puzzle had to be precisely pieced together on the construction site.
“And all that glass called for a very specific type of spacer bar. Firstly, they couldn’t use automated application – virtually every IGU used on the project was a different shape. Secondly, rigid spacers were out of the question – they couldn’t practically be moulded into the weird and wonderful shapes that were required.
“And thirdly, they needed something that offered the highest possible level of performance. In hot climates, in particular, a warm edge spacer has to work hard to hermetically seal the space between the panes. Due to the thermal interaction between hot sunlight and shadows, strong mechanical forces permanently act on the edge compound due to the movement of the glass. What’s more, especially in Dubai, where summer temperatures regularly top 40 degrees Celsius, thermally efficient glazing plays a vital role in keeping the heat out, and the air conditioning in.
“That’s why our premium flexible spacer, TriSeal, was chosen. It is designed specifically for the commercial market, capable of meeting the extremely demanding standards of an architectural masterpiece. It offers world-class performance with its unique triple seal design, incorporating an inner acrylic adhesive seal for immediate unit handling, a polyisobutylene primary seal for enhanced gas retention and low moisture vapour transmission, and an outer silicone seal for structural strength and durability. The flexible foam structure handles both curved profiles and rectangles with ease, while at the same time enabling outstanding thermal efficiency.
“It was the perfect fit for an astounding project – one we were absolutely delighted to be a part of.”