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A Simple Temple

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  • A Simple Temple

    These are sketches for a modestly scaled Temple or Mausoleum. I have tried to capture basic symbolic elements and combine them in to a pleasing, reflective, introspective place. Mario and I have watched each other sketch this basic shape off and on for years and have inspired one another each time we see the other's drawing. While of a slightly smaller scale, I have loosely modeled it after Mario's beautiful drawing seen on the opening page of Daheshville.

    Temple Elevation
    The base of the Temple is comprised of 6 steps leading up to a 60 foot diameter platform. The plan of the temple is comprised of 5 columns 15 feet in diameter (at the base) arranged around an equillateral Daheshist star. There is no front or back to the Temple...entry is possible from all sides between the columns. While the interior is semi-private, I wanted the interior to have a very open feel to it, with glass enclosing the space between the columns.

    Temple Plan
    At the center of the Temple, at the middle of the star plan is a water fountain. The perimeter of the fountain is raised for sitting. The sound of the fountain permeates the entire Temple. Colored lights illuminate the water. The water represents a cleansing and the fountain rising through the center of the Temple is much like the offering of a prayer.

    At the base of each column is a semi-private prayer chamber. I scaled these chambers to be of a scale so that they are comfortable for an individual as well as a small group to come and pray. At the center of the column is a prayer alter where a Daheshist prayer can be burned privately, or in a small group. The inner portion of the column is open and hollow for the smoke of the prayer to symbolically rise. The inner perimeter of these chambers is lined with a bench to sit and rest, reflect, observe or talk.

    The primary material for construction is concrete. The interior floors are marble or travertine with brass accents.
    Last edited by Johnson; 05-16-2007, 02:19 PM.

  • #2
    I like the pentagram configuration of this part of the temple complex. For one thing it is true to geometric patterns used in ancient near eastern temples.

    It is interesting that you feel a library to be an important part of the Dahesh Temple complex. Just take a wild guess where the very first libraries in this world were found!
    "Call me late, just don't call me late for dinner."-Checker Flag Bubba


    • #3
      Beautiful! Awesome!


      • #4
        Thank you for your kind words. This has been a very personal and emotional journey to compile and capture these thoughts in words, ideas and pictures. Mario and I have talked off and on about a lot of these ideas over the years. His caring encouragement has always in the end been... "...just do what you think.."

        As an architect, I have always dreamt of giving a physical form and 'place' to the ideas of Daheshism. While I/we cannot physically build something today, (tomorrow...who knows???) and organizationally it is unclear what it is we need at all in the first place, maybe somehow, somewhere, just like Mario's initial concept for Daheshville... if we "draw it, they will come".


        • #5
          Here are some “construction” photographs of the primary pieces of the model for "A Simple Temple" as they are coming together. A company in Maine is currently making the dome for this model for me. They make custom plastic domes and spheres. They always kind of laugh when I talk to them as they are primarily providers of quite large structures for actual buildings… and I order pieces made to specification that are well… “quite a bit” smaller… none the less, they have done a great job for me… I understand that the dome for this model is ready to ship out to me this week… I can’t wait to get it painted and assembled.

          I have explored various avenues to have these custom column pieces made. In the end, I decided to increase the scale of the model to 1/8” = 1’ – 0” (up from 1/16” = 1’ – 0” or in simpler terms, twice the size of the other models) and this in turn allowed for the pieces to be large enough so that they could be made as custom turnings on a lathe. Templates were made from the architectural drawings, and the result of the woodworking is shown here. My sincerest thanks to DR and DC for their skill and efforts in helping me produce these parts for this model…no fingers or limbs were hurt or lost in its production~! (well, so far, anyway~!) If you have ever seen a woodworking lathe in operation, you would know what I mean…

          Here you can see the three dimensional proportions of the columns and stepped base together. This shot is before paint and the assembly of the dome for the roof. The overall feel I wanted to create is that of a place of serenity and contemplation; much like a peaceful gazebo in a garden.


          • #6


            Here is a picture of the completed model for "A Simple Temple"...
            Last edited by Johnson; 11-14-2008, 02:49 PM.


            • #7


              This is a picture of the Temple with a little piece of "Daheshville" in the background...


              • #8

                Temple Interior

                This is a picture looking down in to the interior of the Temple. One can see the Daheshist star in the floor with a reflecting pool and fountain in the center. The five points of the star extend in to the interiors of each of the five columns... terminating in a prayer altar at the center of each column.

                This space is enclosed in glass with glass doors between each of the columns so that the fountain can be seen from all sides, as well have giving 360 degree views from the interior space looking out.


                • #9

                  Temple at night

                  In closing, here is a shot of the Temple at night showing the interior lighting from above.

                  If it looks like a space ship that has landed... well, maybe that was purely intentional...

                  The goal was to create a simple, contemplative space that facilitated the mental and spiritual preparation to write and burn the Daheshist prayer. I wanted the space to feel sacred without being overbearing... nature and all its beauty and changing light and seasons would affect the feel of the interior moment by moment.

                  This is a sacred place within the sacred setting of nature and the world around us. The water in the center of space represents a cleansing... symbolic of the purpose that earnest prayer plays in our daily lives. The soft soothing sounds of the small fountain in the water masks the sounds of the outside world... and there is something inherently mesmerizing of the sound of water in our lives...

                  In the end, this is a place to humbly reflect upon and honor our Beloved Prophet, Dr. Dahesh. No effort or structure or anything any of us could ever do, could do justice to repay the sacrifice that was made for us so that we could be blessed to have His timeless, infinite, loving, spiritual message.

                  Thank you for taking the time to look and read...


                  • #10
                    Beautiful work David. I think you're coming along nicely in terms of developing the design vocabulary. I recommend you read my post in which I addressed the key aspects of what I think a Daheshist Temple should be. This is work in progress and not anything that I could have laid out earlier given that my own understanding of what a temple should be (no more than an opinion) has greatly evolved since the inception of Daheshville.

                    Again, none of what I am discussing has to do with aesthetics, design, proportions etc.

                    Hope this helps.
                    "Fail, to succeed."


                    • #11
                      Thank you Mario for your thoughtful commentary.

                      I think the next series of presentations will probably more closely approximate the working Temple scenario you have described.