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The Morpheus, Macau

Ensuring fire safety for Morpheus - a luxury hotel designed by Zaha Hadid

Featuring three voids punctuating the twisting geometric façade with striking exoskeleton design, Morpheus, the late Zaha Hadid-designed luxury hotel, is now an architectural icon on Macau’s famed Cotai Strip. Located at Melco Resorts & Entertainment's flagship integrated resort City of Dreams, Morpheus offers sophisticated travelers the most remarkable experiences that go beyond gaming and raise the bar in global luxury hospitality. Arup rose to the challenge posed by the unusual architectural form and structure to provide practical fire engineering solutions that strike a delicate balance between the competing demands of design innovation, sustainability, functionality and fire safety.

Project Summary

160m Ensuring fire safety for Zaha Hadid’s striking luxury hotel design

Shaping a safer icon

Morpheus features freeform geometry, exoskeleton façade design, intricate internal spaces of the atrium – all made its fire safety strategy extremely challenging. We have conducted a full fire strategy review for the whole development. In particular, the atrium spans the entire internal height of the building – from the hotel lobby at the ground level up to Level 38, stretching approximately 130m in height. This space exceeds the compartment size of the local code requirement. Using a fire engineering approach, our fire engineers successfully tackled the challenge without compromising safety of the building.

Passive and active fire protection systems

The hotel’s atrium fire strategy uses both passive and active fire protection systems. For passive fire protection, the atrium is separated from the tower accommodation with two-hour fire rated construction and the podium is separated from the towers and atrium by two-hour fire rated construction. Automatic fire sprinklers, smoke management, aspirated smoke detection and occupant warning systems are other features that provide fire protection for occupants. While the effectiveness of the automatic fire sprinkler system was considered uncertain at the high ceiling space, our fire engineers designed a robust fire engineering solution to verify the performance of the suppression system.

Automatic and responsive smoke control

Arup adopts a mechanical smoke control system with smoke extraction points at high levels of the atrium and natural makeup air via entrance doors at ground floor with automatic door open devices. Automatic actuating devices include smoke control system, fire curtains and shutters, automatic open doors for supplying makeup air and other means of providing compartmentation and fire separation automatically in the event of fire. All such devices would be actuated by the aspirating smoke detector and manual control devices for automatic and manual operation respectively.

Computer modelling demonstrated that occupants would be able to leave the fire affected compartment without adverse effect from fire or smoke

Apart from meticulously designed features for fire safety, a comparison of Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) and Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) fire engineering analysis was conducted, looking into the detection and alarm time, pre-movement time and travel time. Computer modelling was adopted to assess the evacuation time.