The Abrahamic Family House by Adjaye Associates
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Abrahamic Family House commissioned by The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity, is a collection of three religious spaces, a mosque, a synagogue and a church, which sit upon a secular visitor pavilion. The project is one of the first initiatives set by The Higher Committee, a new body, who are overseeing the implementation of the “Document of the Human Fraternity” at both regional and international levels. The landmark project hopes to embody the relationship between the three Abrahamic faiths whilst providing a platform for dialogue, understanding, and coexistence between their religions.
Unveiled at an event held at the New York Public Library on 20th September, The Abrahamic Family 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 eventbased programming.
Sir David Adjaye, Founder and Principal of Adjaye Associates, comments on the project: “My experience and learning with this project brought a clarity, I’ve always seen these three religions as very different – it’s what we’re led to believe, but then you discover these incredible connections and overlaps that sit with these distinct differences. The evolution which then developed the narrative was to discover what was adjacent, surprisingly close even. The Form is translated from the three faiths, we use the lens to define what is similar as opposed to what is different and we use the power of that revelation to make the form. We were led towards these 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”.
“Our discovery continued with the common ground, the public space in-between, where the difference connects. I saw the garden as a powerful metaphor, this 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, there’s no preventative threshold and this way you dissolve the perceptions of not being included and encourage the celebration of this collective history & collective identity”.
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