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Baha'i Center in Tasmania

City to get $1m `gift'


24 June 2003

A TRANQUIL public garden featuring a giant dome will replace a car park in a $1 million plan to transform Hobart's gateway.

The project was unveiled yesterday by representatives of the state's Baha'i community, who said the development would be a "gift" for the city. The Baha'i Centre For Learning, which will include a convention centre, is proposed for the prime city block next to the ABC broadcasting centre at 1 Liverpool St. Tasmanian designer Stuart Hall, who also worked on Israel's massive Baha'i project, said the centre would perform two key functions. "It will serve as a fitting entry to Hobart -- obviously the site is very important," Mr Hall said. "The other function is that it will be a multi-use facility for community use, education, conferences, festivals, art exhibitions ... "The Baha'i community will run the building and use it but it is also seen as a gift to the city of Hobart." The development's central dome will seat 300 people and Mr Hall said this and other conference facilities would be available for community groups at a non-commercial fee. The building will also serve as a rallying point for the state's 200-strong Baha'i community.

Baha'i is a global religion of more than five million followers spread across 235 countries, and it is known for its striking architect-designed buildings and gardens. Tasmania's Baha'i community bought the high-profile site in 2000 for more than $1 million. If plans are approved by the Hobart City Council, work could begin in August. The plans include: - A central dome 9m high and 18m in circumference. - The dome will feature a star design on its roof that will light up at night and be visible in the foreground of Hobart's city skyline. - A new benchmark in sustainable and energy-efficient design -- with solar power, rain storage and even a sewage and waste-disposal system based on a worm farm. No trees will be removed as they are incorporated into the plans.

The project is funded by the non-profit Naveed Foundation -- the foundation dedicated to the memory of Hobart Baha'i community members Soheila Mirkazemi and her 13-year-old son, Naveed, who died in a horrific road accident on Hobart's Proctors Rd in late 2000.

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