Magic of Arabia comes to Berlin

UAE’s embassy in Berlin combines old and new styles

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By  Eudore Chand Published  March 26, 2005

Dream Palace|~|The-Bathrooms.jpg|~|The bathrooms|~|Set back from the road, a passer-by or motorist has only a fleeting glimpse of the newly constructed UAE’s embassy building in Germany. Through the discreet screen of the trees, they may be able to see a façade that appears to have been lifted from an upscale beachfront development in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, and transported thousands of miles away to Berlin. The walkway and the arched façade give way to a plush foyer. The idea here is to wow the visitor. After all, the United Arab Emirates, although small, is one of the richest countries in the world and its embassy in Germany should and does symbolically reflect the legends of the palaces of Arabia. The new embassy building was completed last year, and the impressive list of dignitaries who attended the opening was testament to the close relationship between the UAE and Germany: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; as well as UAE’s ambassador to Germany, Ali Mohammed Al Zarouni. The embassy building was constructed as a turnkey project by the German firm Wiemer & Trachte. The design of the building is a mix between modern architecture with traditional Arabic motifs; the architectural concept was designed by Tom Krause and Astrid Bohne. The sandstone façade shows little walled areas with a decoration of the so-called mashrabiyas. The geometric structure of the façade is star-shaped, which gives a vivid impression to the whole structure. This is subtly emphasised by the use of keel arches, columns, windows and arcades, all of which are based on design elements of Arabic origin. Nevertheless, the building itself has a very clear and systematic structure. The variety and elegance of the construction translate into the stunning interior of the building. The long foyer leads to a circular hall in front of a festival hall, which is connected by massive wooden doors. Galleries along the first floor flank three sides of the hall, while large windows offer an unobstructed view to the landscaped gardens. The total built area of the embassy building is about 37 000 m3. For the complete construction, more than 5500 m3 of concrete, including 2000 m3 of water-resistant concrete and 750 tons of reinforcement was used, according to the builders. The basement, including the underground car park, was constructed in water-resistant concrete. The vertical faces of the excavation pit were secured with planking and strutting called ‘Berliner Verbau’ and ground anchors, according to representatives of Wiemer & Trachte Aktiengesellschaft. The German company has a history of more than 90 years. Through its numerous branches and subsidiaries, Wiemer & Trachte has carried out a wide variety of civil engineering and construction projects, both at home and overseas. It attributes its success to the commitment and technical expertise of its staff and operates in Africa, Asia and Europe. The company is focused on civil engineering and construction including structural work and specialist civil engineering work, together with industrial turnkey construction and housing projects. Its overseas activities began in Saudi Arabia, where it comepleted several large projects between 1980 and 1990.||**||

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