National Bahai Centre: A Transformation Rooted in Heritage and Nature
For The Spiritual Assembly Of The Baha'is Of Malaysia.
The National Bahai Centre, once a motel left in a dilapidated state since 2007, has been revitalized into a significant administrative hub for the Bahai community of Malaysia.
Design Challenges and Solutions
1. Adapting the Existing Structure:
The original building, rectangular in form with a north-south orientation on its longitudinal facade, was elevated about 3m in height and placed at the furthest end of the site, surrounded by mature rain trees. This positioning leverages the excellent microclimate conditions provided by the trees.
2. Creating a Bahai Identity:
With no precedent for this type of building in Malaysia, we undertook research on Bahai buildings in the Bahai World Centre, located in Haifa, Israel. This research helped us derive design principles that could be adopted for this site.
3. Integration with Landscape:
In line with the Bahai principle of integrating landscape and physical form, we designed a landscape staircase placed in axis with the centre of the portico. This design emphasizes the sense of arrival through the landscape gardens. We also introduced tropical flowers arranged in a twin star pattern on the grass slopes, enhancing the natural beauty of the site.
4. Timeless Architecture:
To create a building that can "withstand the passage of time", we proposed a classical design portico, strategically placed around a third of the facade. This design, balanced within the elements of windows and balcony, uses a twin column element to emphasize visual support. This element, first invented by Michelangelo in the Medici Chapel in Florence, Italy, around 1524, lends the building a simple and dignified entrance.
The National Bahai Centre now offers a pleasant working environment filled with daylight and views of the surrounding landscape. Once the landscaping strategy is fully implemented, the Bahai identity of the building in a landscape will become more evident, resulting in a modest and dignified building that truly represents the Bahai community in Malaysia.
3D Model Tour: Transformation of the National Bahai Centre
Exterior Showcase of the National Bahai Centre