Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi

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Saadiyat Island is famous for some of Abu Dhabi’s art institutions and cultural exchange centers, and is home to renowned landmarks such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi. However, in the near future, it will also host the long-awaited Abrahamic Family House. This new landmark is a future inter-religious complex that will promote dialogue between followers of the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Project of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity, it will house a mosque, a church and a synagogue, which bear the names of Imam Al-Tayeb, Saint Francis of Assisi and Moses Ben Maimon respectively. The project will serve as a physical manifestation of the Document on Human Fraternity, which was signed by Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb and Pope Francis in February 2019.

The places of worship were designed by Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates. Each building looks like a cube with modern architecture, and will share the same garden space symbolizing the coexistence of different faiths.

However, the buildings are also designed to be distinct from each other, while reflecting their respective denominations. For example, the exterior of the mosque consists of Islamic arches differing in height in a rhythmic pattern, the interior of the church is designed to remind worshipers and visitors that they are close to what is transcendent and divine, and the columns of the synagogue symbolize the assembly of Sukkot.

“As an architect, I want to create a building that begins to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference – it should represent universality and totality – something higher, which enhances the richness of human life”, explained Adjaye.

In June 2021, the Abrahamic Family Home was reported to have reached 20% completion and is expected to be completed later this year. Once commissioned, it will be one of many undertakings upon which the Higher Committee of Human Brotherhood will give its opinion.

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