Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Emerging Shrine a symbol of peace and service to humanity
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — As work presses on at the site for the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’ís around the world are remembering His urgent call for universal peace, especially today, on Naw-Rúz, the first day of spring and a day of spiritual renewal.
Once completed, the Shrine will serve as a place of quiet contemplation for countless visitors from around the world to draw inspiration from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life and work as a herald of peace, a champion of social justice, and upholder of the principle of the oneness of humanity.
In one of His talks during His travels to the West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá drew on the metaphor of the renewal of nature associated with the vernal equinox, stating: “May you become as growing plants. May the trees of your hearts bring forth new leaves and variegated blossoms. May ideal fruits appear from them in order that the world of humanity, which has grown and developed in material civilization, may be quickened in the bringing forth of spiritual ideals.”
Progress on the site of the Shrine is featured in the images that follow.
The meticulous work of assembling the formwork for the trellis spanning the Shrine’s central plaza is nearing completion.
This animated sequence of design rendering shows the process of building the trellis, including the placement of polystyrene (EPS) formwork, the placement of rebar, the pouring of concrete, and finally, the removal of formwork.
The formwork comprises precisely placed EPS blocks that will form a mold for the structure of the trellis.
Steel formwork has also been installed to create extensions on the sides of trellis that will connect with the portal walls of the north and south plazas.
Work on the marble that will clad the trellis is also advancing. Pictured here is a view of the quarry in the town of Carrara, Italy, where Margraf—the marble company working on the project—is sourcing stone for the Shrine.
Read this article for more on the relationship between the work of the Bahá’í community and this region of Italy, which stretches back to the 1940s.
A full-scale model of a section of the trellis was prepared at Margraf’s factory in Chiampo, Italy, to assist with developing possible approaches for use in the complex process of mounting the stone on the lower side of the trellis. The marble seen here is for demonstration and is not the final material.
Staff from the project office at the Bahá’í World Centre recently visited the Margraf factory to discuss aspects of the plans for the preparation of the marble for the trellis and the main edifice of the Shrine.
Meanwhile, a new stage of the construction of the two garden berms on either side of the Shrine has begun as they are backfilled with expanded EPS blocks. This is an innovative use of EPS, which will give shape and volume to the berms while adding relatively little weight to the structure.
Progress on the backfilling of the east berm is seen here. The placement of blocks in overlapping layers has been carefully planned to provide a firm base for the landscaping of the berms.
To the north of the Shrine, work on the north plaza floor has been completed.
As seen in the aerial view on the left, most of the south plaza floor and the path encircling the Shrine has been completed.
The north and south plaza garden planters have been built and are now being backfilled with reused EPS from other parts of the site.
Seen here are blocks of EPS being cut to be placed in the planters.
Another notable development at the site is the landscaping work on the gardens that will surround the Shrine. Seen here are some of the plants (left) that are being grown at an off-site nursery and a winding garden path (right) that is being laid out on the east side of the Shrine.
These images show the foundations of the access paths at the north and south end of the site.
Preparation of foundations for the side garden path to the east of the Shrine is now complete. Soil that was bored for the support piles of the main structure is now being used for landscaping the garden path.
The top image shows a Geoweb network of interconnected porous containers that confine the base layer of soil, a standard technique being used to strengthen the foundations of the side garden path.
Seen here at the nursery are some of the trees and plants that will line the garden paths.
Platforms have been created at several points along the garden paths, where benches and fountains will be installed to provide visitors with an opportunity to pause for quiet contemplation.
Elsewhere on the site, groundwork for a visitors’ center has begun.