david adjaye designs church, mosque, and synagogue as part of multi-faith site in abu dhabi

david adjaye designs church, mosque, and synagogue as part of multi-faith site in abu dhabi

adjaye associates, the london-based firm led by sir david adjaye, has unveiled plans for a landmark project in the united arab emirates that includes a church, mosque, and synagogue. the development, known as ‘the abrahamic family house’, will be located on abu dhabi’s saadiyat island in close proximity to the jean nouvel-designed louvre abu dhabi. the project hopes to embody the relationship between the three faiths while providing a platform for dialogue, understanding, and coexistence.

david adjaye abrahamic family
all images courtesy of adjaye associates



commissioned by the higher committee for human fraternity, the abrahamic family house 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 that is overseeing the implementation of the ‘document of the human fraternity’ — a document backed by religious leaders that addresses how people of different faiths can live together harmoniously.

david adjaye abrahamic family
podium — exterior view



the site 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 event-based programming.

david adjaye abrahamic family
church — courtyard view



‘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,’ explains david adjaye, founder and principal of adjaye associates. ‘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.’

david adjaye abrahamic family
church — interior view



‘our discovery continued with the common ground, the public space in between, where the difference connects,’ adjaye continues. ‘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.’

mosque — interior view

synagogue — interior view

visitor center — interior view

podium landscape

synagogue — exterior view

mosque — exterior view

church — exterior view

an aerial view of the site



project info:


name: the abrahamic family house
location: saadiyat island, abu dhabi, UAE
design: adjaye associates
higher committee of human fraternity

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