In the second part of the series, we look at architecture.
Armed with pencils, paper and AutoCAD, Baha’i architects set out to design buildings that are not merely spaces for interaction with friends, institutions and God, but also seek to embody spiritual principles.
The designs of the Baha’i Houses of Worship reflect local cultural influences. The House of Worship in Germany blends the Bauhaus and European post-war styles. The Samoan House of Worship captures the simplicity of life in the tropics. The Wilmette Temple displays symbols of Native American traditions alongside the star of David and the cross.
Beyond the Houses of Worship, however, are numerous lesser-known gems of Baha’i architecture.
Tasmania Baha’i Centre of Learning
Architect Stuart Mckenzie-Hall has been lauded for his ecologically sustainable design for the Tasmanian Baha’i Centre of Learning. The interior is just as stunning as its exterior – make sure to check out the photos on the Baha’i Centre of Learning website!
Interior Cladding in Wilmette Temple
The principal architect of the House of Worship in Wilmette, Louis Bourgeois, passed away before he could finish his designs for the interior of the structure. Alfred Shaw was hired to complete the job and crafted this interior detailing and ornaments.
San Francisco Baha’i Center
This fine example of art deco architecture was originally built as the Independent Order of Foresters lodge in 1930 by Harold Stoner. The Baha’i community of San Francisco is indeed very fortunate – today, the lodge’s facade encloses the local Baha’i center.
Proposed Plans for the Tehran Temple
In the early 70s, the Universal House of Justice commissioned Quinlan Terry to design a House of Worship for Tehran. His design, which features the use of Islamic elements, would have a dome larger than that of St. Paul’s Cathedral. While a site for the Temple has been selected, its construction is currently impossible.
School of Nations Macau
Amidst the sprawl of casinos in Macau rises the new building of the Baha’i-inspired School of Nations. The building was designed by Robarts Architects, a team led by two long-time pioneers to China, Adam and Karyn Robarts.
Northern Virginia Baha’i Centre
Hossein Amanat, the godfather of modern Baha’i architecture, didn’t stop his work with design after the iconic Azadi Tower, the Arc and the Samoan temple. The Northern Virginia Baha’i Centre is one of his more recent creations and includes a host of facilities for community activities, including a 400-person auditorium.
What are your favorite examples of Baha’i architecture? Share in the comments!