Last month, Los Angeles based Ehrlich Architects won the international design competition for the United Arab Emirates Ferderal National Council’s New Parliament Building Complex in Abu Dhabi. Ehrlich’s design was picked of a group of 14 internationally recognized firms. The firms submitted entries on invitation only, the list included major firms Foster + Partners, Massamiliano Fuksas Architects and Zaha Hadid Architects.

Ehrlich teamed up with Emirates based architecture firm Godwin Austen Johnson and landscape architecture firm ValleyCrest Design Group during the second phase of the competition to create their design.

Ehrlich said the design “melds familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and the latest technological advances, creating meaning, maximum functionality and environmental sustainability”. The centerpiece of the Complex is a cylindrical rotunda surrounded by an arched dome topped with colored glass. The colored glass will cast Islamic patterns into the rotunda, which houses the Assemby Hall.

Surrounding the Assembly Hall is a complex of traditionally inspired government offices. The exterior architecture is inspired by the historic sun dried mud brick architecture that exemplifies Middle Eastern traditional design. Traditional influences are a theme in many Godwin Austen buildings. The interior of these offices will be modern 21st century offices for the leaders of one of the world’s fastest growing nations.

The Complex will be located on Abu Dhabi Corniche, a grand processional boulevard and a center for civic events and celebrations. It is also situated on the Persian Gulf coast and according to Ehrlich, “its dome will be visible for miles across the water and will glow dramatically at night”.

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