Ehrlich Architects winning the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council's New Parliament Building Competition

Ehrlich Architects announced this week to be the winners of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal National Council's (FNC) New Parliament Building competition located on Abu Dhabi Corniche.

Their proposal design proposes a building melding familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and the latest technological advances. This strategy creates meaning, maximum functionality and environmental sustainability with the aim of providing an harmonious balance of modernity and tradition.
United Arab Emirates Federal National Council's New Parliament Building, Abu Dhabi, UAE, © Ehrlich Architects

Structural System
This building is anchored by a striking hundred-meter-diameter dome structure creating a shaded micro-environment while casting Islamic patterns of dappled light onto the white marble Assembly Hall.
© Ehrlich Architects

The choice of the structural system for this parliament responds to its environment. Ehrlich Architects' design proposal embodies the unique identity of the United Arab Emirates, that is, a modern society moving boldly into the future while retaining a strong connection to its history and traditions. This parliament aims at serving as a landmark for public gatherings as well as a model for conservation of the regions precious resources.
© Ehrlich Architects

The lattice dome structure design creates triangulated roof apertures varying in size which act as skylights. Variations in the size of the openings permit natural light and ventilation to penetrate within the dome which becomes a skylight or a courtyard.
© Ehrlich Architects

The traditional Arabic design is treated with the mashrabiya lattice panels used for the dome. This will shade windows while the concrete and metal dome's task is to minimize direct sunlight onto the building.
© Ehrlich Architects

The sustainable issues: an energy efficient master plan
The design of the building itself pushes sustainable ideas even further. It is based on solar passive design which task is to reduce heat gain and cooling loads. This building is designed to absorb the heat from daily sunlight and to release it at night using thick, light-colored walls which serve as thermal mass. As mentioned previously, the mashrabiya panels as well as the concrete and metal materials reinforce this energy efficient program in that, on the one hand, the panels shade inner spaces avoiding electrical cooling, and, on the other hand, the concrete and metal materials allow for reducing direct sunlight on the building.

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