2/15/2011

Update: The Rotunda structural system of Erhlich Architects' UAE Federal National Council's New Parliament Building

I propose to go back over Ehrlich Architects' UAE Federal National Council's New Parliament Building, particularly the rotunda. This short post will be updated when completed.

This 100-meter-diameter impressive dome structure aims to create a shaded micro-environment onto the marble Assembly Hall. As an outdoor roof, it serves as a protection for the buildings from site conditions and environment — solar gain, wind, temperature, etc. It is formed by the horizontal tessellation of the surface dome which is pierced by openings with various sizes and shapes.  Occulus at the top is left open allowing for natural light and ventilation to be diffused in the Assembly Hall.
Side walls openings of this corbelled dome structure facilitate circulation in the hall and access in the building.
© Ehrlich Architects

The configuration plan of this rotunda, cylindrical in form, looks like a yazdi-bandi-shaped dome on account of the distribution of cross-load-bearing curved ribs which create subdivision on the surface of the dome as well as the Islamic-style colored patterns.
© Ehrlich Architects

 This design geometry generates an acoustical and beautiful affect of the rotunda. Shadow motifs that reproduce the faceted surface of the shell appear on the Assembly building external walls depending on the orientation of the sun.
© Ehrlich Architects

This design is repeated in the interior of the Assembly, in particular the ceiling structural system which reproduces the corbelled faceted surface dome design with the occulus that allows daylighting and ventilation for penetrating the inner space.
© Ehrlich Architects

As a landmark, the dome will have an impressive presence at Abu Dhabi. I cannot confirm if Ehrlich Architects' design proposal has been selected because of their inspiration of the Islamic Architecture, but, it is certain that this design demonstrates how melding familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and latest technological advances can generate a beautiful, and, sustainable structure in respect with its environment.

I cannot wait to see this parliament built to update this analysis.

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