Baha'i Temple in India continues to receive awards and recognitions

December 5, 2000

NEW DELHI — The Baha'i House of Worship here, long recognized as an architectural triumph and one of India's most visited sites, has received several more popular and professional recognitions and awards in recent months.

In China, the House of Worship, which is also known as the Lotus Temple due to its distinctive lotus-shaped design, was recognized by the Architectural Society of China as one of 100 canonical works of the 20th century in the recently published "World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic, Volume Eight, South Asia."

The book is one of a series of ten volumes organised by the Society and endorsed by the International Union of Architects, in co-ordination with the XX World Architects Congress convened in June 1999 in Beijing, China. According to the editor, Mr. Rahul Mehrotra, the book is intended to "reflect and document architectural achievements in a multicultural world background, as represented by 100 canonical works of this century."

The selections, based on a process of nominations by architects from around the world, include works by master architects such as Le Corbusier, Edwin Lutyens and Louis I. Khan. The House of Worship, which appears as the book's cover illustration, is described as "a powerful icon of great beauty that goes beyond its pure function of serving as a congregation space to become an important architectural symbol of the city."

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Mr. Fariborz Sahba, architect of the Lotus Temple in India, and Dr. Hans Kung, a Catholic theologian known for his work on a "global ethic," receive the GlobArt Academy 2000 award at a ceremony in the Pernegg cloister, Austria.| From left to right: Dr. Angerer, resident Abbot of Pernegg Church; Mr. Sahba; Dr. Kung; and Mr. Bijan Khadem-Missagh, well-known violinist and president of GlobArt Academy.

In Austria, the GlobArt Academy in Vienna presented its "GlobArt Academy 2000" awards to the architect of the Lotus Temple, Fariborz Sahba, and to Catholic theologian Hans Kung for their work in overcoming religious barriers. The awards were presented on 3 September 2000 at a ceremony in the church of Pernegg cloister attended by ambassadors and cultural attaches of Canada, Germany, Switzerland and India as well as representatives of the Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Baha'i communities of Austria.

Mr. Sahba received the award in recognition of "the magnitude of the service of [this] Taj Mahal of the 20th century in promoting the unity and harmony of people of all nations, religions and social strata, to an extent unsurpassed by any other architectural monument worldwide." A model of the Temple, brought specially for the occasion from the museum of the World Center for Peace in Verdun, France, was on public display for one month in the nearby town of Horn.

In France, the magazine "Actualite des Religions" published a four-page article on the Lotus Temple in the fall of 2000 in a special edition called "Les religions et leurs chef-d'Ouvres" (Religions and Their Masterpieces).

In Spain, the Centro Andaluz de Fotografia published "Arquitectos de Unidad," a coffee table book featuring photographs of the House of Worship.

In India, national newspapers recently carried a 2-page advertisement for IndiaTimes with an image of the Lotus Temple and the legend: "One of the most visited sites in India. The Baha'i Temple, an architectural landmark. Through these gates millions of people enter, and find what they are looking for."

The House of Worship was dedicated to public worship in 1986 and has since become one of the most visited buildings in the world, with an average of 3 million visitors each year. In the first few years of its existence, the House of Worship won numerous architectural and engineering awards, including a "special award" from the Institution of Structural Engineers of the U.K. in 1987; the "Excellence in Religious Art and Architecture 1987" First Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects; and an award in 1990 from the American Concrete Institute recognizing it as one of the finest concrete structures of the world.