Abrahamic Family House

Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Status
  • Area
    6,500 m² / 70,000 ft²
  • Category
    Civic, Culture
  • Client
    UAE Government
  • Design Architect
    Adjaye Associates
  • Landscape Architect
    Adjaye Associates
  • Award
    Best Luxury Public Services Architecture, Luxury Lifestyle Award, 2020

Technical Info +

As an architect I want to create a building that starts to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference – it should represent universality and totality – something higher, that enhances the richness of human life. - David Adjaye

The Abrahamic Family House is a collection of three religious spaces: a mosque, a synagogue and a church, all of which sit upon a secular visitor pavilion. The house will serve as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures. Within each of the houses of worship, visitors will have the opportunity to observe religious services, listen to holy scripture, and experience sacred rituals. The fourth space — not affiliated with any specific religion — will serve as a center for all people of goodwill to come together as one. The community will also offer educational and event-based programming.

The form is translated from the three faiths, carefully using the lens to define what is similar as opposed to what is different, and using the power of these revelations to make the form. The design appears as powerful plutonic forms with a clear geometry, three cubes sitting on a plinth – though not aligned, they each have different orientations. The story then starts to become apparent through the power of the silhouette, unified with commonality and the articulation of the three forms. These structures represent a safe space, each volume illustrated with colonnades, screens and vaults to represent the sacred nature.

The discovery continues with the common ground, the public space in-between, where the difference connects. The garden is used as a powerful metaphor, a safe space where community, connection and civility combine – this space exists between the three chambers, the three faiths. The podium allows you to interact with each space with no preventative threshold, to dissolve the perceptions of not being included and encourage the celebration of this collective history and collective identity.