Foster & Partners have a solid footing in the Middle East, with Masdar City and other popular projects under their belt. And Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid is a celebrity who inspires red-carpet treatment wherever she goes. Both firms bid for the new United Arab Emirates parliament building design competition in Abu Dhabi, but their entries were eclipsed by Ehrlich Architecture’s beautiful dome building. Architect’s Newspaper called it the biggest upset since 1987 when Frank Gehry won the Walt Disney Concert Hall Bid.
Few details are published on Ehrlich Architecture’s website, but given a long history of studying traditional Islamic architecture, Ehrlich has made an effort to incorporate traditional elements into his design.
Planned for the newly cleaned up Corniche astride the Persian Gulf, the new building is a circle within a square. The 100m dome fans out in the shape of a five-petaled flower and at night, when it is lit up, will be visible from afar (solar, LED? We hope so.)
This is what Architect’s Newspaper wrote of the design:
Deep concrete ribs will provide a self-supporting structure, exposed to the open hall’s interior. The 1.3 million square foot complex will be embraced by offices rising from a podium. These structures will be terraced, to suggest wind-sculpted sand dunes. Perforated screens will provide cooling shade, complementing more high-tech sustainable elements like a rooftop solar thermal system.
It is not known how much the project will cost (it won’t be cheap – this is Abu Dhabi after all) or when it is expected to be completed. Godwin Austen Johnson is the local architect on the project, based in Abu-Dhabi.
:: images and story via Architect’s Newspaper
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