Abrahamic Family House
About the Abrahamic Family House
The Abrahamic Family House will be a beacon of mutual understanding, harmonious coexistence and peace among people of faith and goodwill. It consists of a mosque, church, synagogue and educational center to be built on Saadiyat Island, the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Through its design, it captures the values shared between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and also serves as a powerful platform for inspiring and nurturing understanding and acceptance between people of goodwill. The vision for the Abarahamic Family House originated after the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb in February 2019.
This landmark will be a place for learning, dialogue and worship—open to all and a true reflection of the UAE’s belief in tolerance and hospitality. While the vision is emerging, what is certain is that it will be welcoming to believers of all Abrahamic faiths and all of mankind. Within each of the houses of worship, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about religious services, listen to holy scripture and experience sacred rituals. A fourth space—not affiliated with any specific religion—will be an educational center where all people can come together as a single community devoted to mutual understanding and peace.
The Abrahamic Family House will host a variety of programming and events—from daily religious services to international summits. Currently, under construction, the project’s anticipated completion date is in 2022 and will be one of several undertakings the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity will advise upon.
“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.”
About the Architectural Design
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 and collective identity.
On September 20, 2019, members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity gathered religious, political and social leaders to begin our interfaith journey toward a more peaceful future for all. This “Celebration of Human Fraternity” centered around curiosity and dialogue as a means to promote acceptance and tolerance among people of goodwill with different beliefs, cultures and traditions. Event activities included a panel conversation with the members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, the unveiling of award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye’s design for the Abrahamic Family House and an interfaith performance by renowned musicians.
This event was only the first Celebration of Human Fraternity.
As the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity continues its work to realize the aspirations of the Document on Human Fraternity, future events and activities will engage additional leaders and audiences around the world.