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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
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Pages 128-129

Letter of Oct. 30th, 1955

Oct. 30th, 1955
Dear Bahá’í Friends:
At the instruction of our beloved Guardian, I am writing you this letter, the contents of which he wishes your assembly to regard as strictly confidential for the time being, until such time as he wishes to make it public.
He is seriously considering the possibility of having a Bahá’í Temple built in the Antipodes during the present 10 Year Plan, on the Temple site already purchased in Sydney. This would ensure a House of Worship in every Continent of the globe by 1963. Also, in view of the strong recrudescence of persecution and hatred of the Faith in Persia he feels that to erect Temples in Africa and Australasia—where it is possible to do so—would be a great comfort to the Persian believers and a befitting response to their enemies who may well make it unfeasible to build the Tehran Temple during this Plan.
In view of this he wishes you to approach qualified architects and request sketches—preliminary studies—for this Temple, which you can submit to him as soon as possible and from which he can indicate the one he feels would be most suitable. He makes this suggestion of studies first because the recent drawings submitted in competition in Germany (and forwarded to him) were all highly modernistic and undignified and a lot of money and time was spent for nothing. There was only one he considered at all possible, and this was not chosen by the judges; necessary qualifications: a building nine sides, surmounted by a dome. Note—circular building. Seating capacity 500 with possible additional seating in a balcony at a future date. Height 40 to 45 meters. Note: no assembly hall is to be included, only auditorium for worship, with no surrounding rooms, is necessary. Extra rooms for maintenance, toilets, caretaker, can be in basement.
There is no reason why it should look like the Chicago Temple; on the other hand, he feels these ultra-modern, often bizarre structures are not at all in keeping with the dignity of our Faith. The type of dome on such structures as Mason Remey’s Temple for Haifa, the Shrine of the Báb and St. Peter’s in Rome he considers beautiful in proportion and suitable. The style is naturally a question each architect would evolve for himself. What interests the Guardian is the symmetry of the ensemble and dignity. 129
He would urge your Assembly to get preliminary studies to him at the earliest possible date, and then he can indicate the one he feels most suitable and the architect can work up full details later.
With loving greetings,
R. Rabbani.