The Union House is one of the most important landmarks of the UAE from a historical perspective. Nowadays, it is routinely recognized as a site of the flagpole which holds the world’s largest flag of the UAE. However, the building beneath the flag, known as the Union House, is the place where the leaders of seven Emirates met in 1971 to sign the historical document which signified the birth of the United Arab Emirates (BBC, 2016). Currently, the building has become a part of the Etihad Museum in Jumeirah, Dubai to preserve it for future generations and ensure the possibility to convey national memories to all Emiratis (NSCC International, 2016).
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The Union House was built in 1965 on the orders of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who was envisioning the Union for more than a decade by that time (The National, 2012). The design of the building was intended to represent its purpose – the facilitation of unity and collaboration between the emirates. The round shape of the building is meant to emphasize the sense of equality and the absence of hierarchy involved in the event (Union House, 2010). The house consists of two rooms, with the inner chamber surrounded by an outer room. The inner chamber was intended for the meeting of the Sheikhs and contains around, leather-paneled renaissance table around which the agreement took place (Ghazal, 2009). The walls of the room are made of glass and shielded with thick curtains. The outer room was originally a balcony and did not have walls, but was later converted into a glass-walled room in the same fashion to decrease deterioration from natural forces. Recently Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashed suggested returning to the original design by removing glass walls of the outer room (Union House, 2010).
The building was mostly forgotten since its original use in 1971 and was nearly demolished during the active construction campaign (The National, 2012). While some parts of the building, such as the reception hall, were destroyed and many elements, including the supporting columns, suffered structural damage, the Union House survived the abandonment. The original flagpole was removed to install a higher one. In 2012, an order of renovation was passed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Gulf News, 2012). The project aimed at preserving the remaining part of the building and restoring it to its original shape and design (Emirates News Agency, 2015). The project is executed using the latest 3D modeling technology to ensure the maximal precision, accuracy, and reliability of the reconstruction process (GEOTECH 3D, n.d.).
BBC. (2016). United Arab Emirates profile – timeline. Web.
Emirates News Agency. (2015). Mohammed bin Rashid Endorses AED 500 million Union Museum Project. Web.
GEOTECH 3D. (n.d.). Union Museum(Union House Dubai). Web.
Ghazal, R. (2009). The nation’s birthplace restored. Web.
Gulf News. (2012). Mohammad orders Union House renovation. Web.
NSCC International (2016). Etihad (Union) Museum, Jumeirah, Dubai. Web.
The National. (2012). Union House to be restored to the day emirates became the Emirates. Web.
Union House. (2010). Research. Web.