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Zaha’s Dubai Opera House set to be cancelled

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Two Zaha Hadid projects in the Middle East are on hold, while Foster scoops Saudi rail contract

Zaha Hadid’s £82.3 million Dubai Opera House is set to be cancelled as struggling developer Sama Dubai slashes projects that are still on the drawing board. 

A source at Sama said: ‘Due to economic conditions the opera house is pending.’ The project has stalled despite the recent merger of Sama Dubai with Dubai Properties and a £6.9 billion government bailout. The building, which was to hold 2,500 people, would have formed a key part of The Lagoons, a mixed-use development in Dubai Creek covering almost 7 million m2.

Zaha Hadid issued a statement to the AJ saying: ‘As with almost every new development in Dubai, the project is under review.

‘We strongly believe these civic cultural programmes, such as the Dubai Opera House, are a vital component of every nation, along with its social, political and economic developments.’

Doubts also surround one of Hadid’s Abu Dhabi projects. The firm is designing the Performing Arts Centre on Saadiyat Island, but the client, Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company, is locked in talks with banks to secure additional funding.

There is, however, better news for Foster + Partners in the Middle East. It has been chosen by the Saudi Rail Organisation to be sole designer for the five stations on the £4.1 billion Haramain high-speed rail project. The 444km railway will link the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, via Jeddah, Rabigh and King Abdullah Economic City.

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