Design of Colombian House of Worship unveiled

NORTE DEL CAUCA, Colombia — The design for the local Bahá’í House of Worship in the Norte del Cauca region of Colombia was unveiled at a meeting in September at the site designated for its construction.

A small team from the Colombian architectural firm CUNA presented the approved plans before an audience of 500 people from the region and elsewhere on 14 September 2014.

Eduard Lopez, one of the architects, described the design process. He said the design team spent many hours, over the course of months, visiting different communities and groups, listening to their ideas and thoughts about the planned Temple, coming to understand their aspirations, and participating in their community-building activities.

“People tell us that we are designing this House of Worship. But it is actually all of you who have designed it, and we are channeling your ideas.”

Mr. Lopez said the team studied the natural surroundings and the architecture of the homes in the region in order to prepare a design that would be in harmony with the culture of the people and the physical environment.

“We chose the materials for the buildings with a number of variables in mind,” Mr. Lopez said. “We wanted materials that were from this region; materials that would not harm the natural surroundings.”

The Temple is one of five local Bahá’í Houses of Worship that are planned in the coming years. The other locations are Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; and Tanna, Vanuatu. In addition, two national Bahá’í Temples are planned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea.

The last in a series of eight continental Houses of Worship is under construction in Santiago, Chile. The other seven are located in the USA, Uganda, Australia, Germany, Panama City, Samoa, and India.

Bahá’í Houses of Worship are distinctive buildings, open to all, where visitors can simply pray and meditate in a serene atmosphere, or listen to the holy scriptures of the world’s religions being recited and sung. Each provides a spiritual center around which agencies of social, humanitarian, and educational service are established for the surrounding population.