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02 December 2023

Parliament building to enrich UAE's skyline

US-based architecture firm Ehrlich Architects has won the design competition to build the UAE’s Federal National Council building. (SUPPLIED)

By Waheed Abbas

US-based architecture firm Ehrlich Architects has won the design competition to build the UAE’s Federal National Council building – the landmark symbol of country’s march towards greater democracy.
The tender ‑ floated by the Federal National Council – was awarded to Los Angeles-based company on January 5, 2011 to build 1.3 million square feet monument at Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Initially, 14 firms representing nine countries were invited in early 2010 to submit entries in Phase 1 of the competition for the new FNC building. In the more detailed second phase, four companies - Ehrlich Architects (USA), Foster + Partners (UK), Massimiliano Fuksas Architects (Italy) and and Zaha Hadid Architects (UK) – were shortlisted for the monumental project.
Ehrlich Architects teamed up with UAE-based architecture firm Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) and landscape architecture firm ValleyCrest Design Group in the second phase to create scheme for the new parliament building which embodies unique identity of the UAE.
“The New Parliament Building Complex will balance Islamic heritage with UAE’s global contemporary aspirations, where modernity and tradition are in harmonious balance,” explains Ehrlich Architects’ Design Principal Steven Ehrlich. “The architecture for the FNC’s new home will communicate its increasingly vital role in the lives of all UAE citizens.”
The winning entry for the new parliament building melds familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and the latest technological advances, creating meaning, maximum functionality and environmental sustainability.  The design is anchored by a striking 100-meter-diameter dome structure, a soaring “flower-of-the-desert” which will create a shaded micro-environment while casting Islamic patterns of dappled light onto the white marble Assembly Hall. 
The flanking parliamentary buildings that house the majority of the offices, meeting halls, and visitors’ programme, abstract the colours and textures of desert sand; the exterior expression of these structures is indebted to local historic buildings. 
Its dome will be visible for miles across the water and will glow dramatically at night, the company told Emirates 24|7.
Ehrlich Architects declined to disclose the value of the contract and time-frame to start the construction of the monument.

Also see:A landmark: UAE’s new Parliament building