Bahai News -- The Mercury - Plan for centre of learning unveiled

STATE NEWS

Plan for centre of learning unveiled

By MICHELLE PAINE
31mar03

PROPONENTS of a community centre planned by members of the Baha'i faith will lodge a development application with the Hobart City Council this week.

The non-profit foundation was inspired by Hobart's Soheila Mirkazemi and son Naveed, members of Hobart's Baha'i community, who died in an accident more than two years ago.

The one-level building surrounded by public gardens would have a focus on education, project officer Diana Stephens said.

"This is not a house of worship but the founders are members of the Baha'i faith. We plan seminars and classes and hope to make it available for groups with similar principles, of diversity, unity, protecting the environment, such as humanitarian organisations," Mrs Stephens said.

The land on the corner of Brooker Ave and Collins St was bought for about $1 million in July 2001.

Co-designer Stuart Hall said the building would be as self-sufficient as possible in energy, water and recycling.

"It is fairly understated and generally on one level for universal access," Mr Hall said.

"The main hall will seat 300 people and will have two wings.

"One wing will house the library and administration and the other will be for educational purposes and conferences and will provide meeting rooms of various sizes.

"There will be an internal courtyard protected from the highway noise, an external amphitheatre and an outdoor stage and it will be surrounded by public gardens."

Water would be recycled for irrigation, organic waste would be processed on-site in a worm farm and there would be passive solar design and eventually photo-voltaic cells for power generation.

"All the trees, which are London plane trees as in Salamanca, will be kept," Mr Hall said.

"And pedestrians and cyclists will be able to pass through, fitting in with the city cycleway plans from the Domain to the city."

The foundation had had informal meetings with council planners.

Mrs Stephens said the group was inspired by Mrs Mirkazemi's love for community.

"We wanted to do something positive in her name and the idea of this centre seemed perfect because there is a strong focus on education," Mrs Stephens said.

The Naveed Foundation also is working on several other overseas projects.

There are about 200 followers of the Baha'i faith in Tasmania, including 50 in Hobart.

The site now contains ABC parking and vacant land.

©Copyright 2003, The Mercury (Australia)

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