New home for UAE Federal National Council blends traditional local heritage with 'global contemporary aspirations'
California-based Ehrlich Architects has beaten off stiff competition from fellow shortlisters Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Massimiliano Fukas Architects to secure first place in an international architectural competition to design the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council’s (FNC) New Parliament Building Complex.
Located on the waterfront on processional boulevard Abu Dhabi Corniche, the striking facility will be visible for miles across the water shared by six of the seven Emirates. A vast dome dubbed the ‘flower of the desert’ forms the key focus of the New Parliament Building Complex at 100m in diameter. At nightfall this arching structure will be lit from the inside, creating a shining beacon to the neighbouring Emirates as it reflects across the water. During the day, the shelter will form its own shaded micro-climate, casting Islamic patterns of dappled light onto the white marble Assembly Hall.
Flanking this dome are multiple Parliamentary buildings which house the bulk of the office and administrative services, meeting halls and visitors’ programme, richly toned in hues inspired by the surrounding natural elements – namely the desert sand. Ehrlich Architects’ Design Principal, Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, RIBA explains: “The New Parliament Building Complex will balance Islamic Heritage with U.A.E.’s global contemporary aspirations, where modernity and tradition are in harmonious balance. The architecture for the FNC’s new home will communicate its increasingly vital role in the lives of all United Arab Emirates citizens.”