000000 0B1E3C 2C6ABD 3C5269 6589B9 7E8386 A4C0E5 D7D6D1

Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

Dome of the Baha'i House of Worship

Posted by
Steven (Chicagoland, United States) on 23 March 2017 in Architecture and Portfolio.

Close-up shot captured of the dome made of quartz and white cement which highlights all of the beautiful tracery work seen in its dome.

The cornerstone for the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois was brought to the site by Nettie Tobin and accepted in 1912 by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during his only visit to the United States and Canada. Construction began in 1921 and was completed in 1953, with a delay of several years during the Great Depression and World War II. The Wilmette House of Worship is the largest and the oldest surviving Bahá'í House of Worship. Known by Baha'is as the "Mother Temple of the West" and formally as the "Bahá'í House of Worship for the North American Continent", it stands in north suburban Cook County, on the shores of Lake Michigan. The cladding is made of white portland cement with both clear and white quartz aggregate. It has received numerous design awards, and is a prominent Chicago-area landmark. In 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The height of the auditorium is 138 feet, and the diameter of the dome is 90 feet. The auditorium seats 1,192 visitors. Like some other Bahá'í temples, it has a gallery balcony from which choirs or soloists may perform. No instrumental music is allowed during services in the auditorium, although all kinds of music may be performed in the meeting room below. In general, no videography, photography, or any other activity inconsistent with quiet meditation is allowed in the auditorium. The building is open to visitors every day of the year. A Visitor's Center, located underneath the main auditorium, includes restrooms, offices, a bookstore, library and research room, a viewing room for films, and a Foundation Hall, which is used for large meetings and holy day celebrations. The large underground area also contains offices not regularly open to the general public, including a media center, studios, and the Baha'i Archives, which can be visited by appointment.

The principal architect was Louis Bourgeois, but the interior cladding was designed by Alfred Shaw of Shaw, Metz, and Dolio. Engineering plans were prepared by Allen McDaniel of The Research Service of Washington, D.C. The general contractor was George A. Fuller, Co. Both the pioneering exterior and interior cladding were fabricated and constructed by John Joseph Earley and the Earley Studio.

The Bahá'í House of Worship is a place of worship for all people. The only decorative art inside and out involves shapes and designs made by intersecting lines. There are no images of people or places. The building itself is decorated inside and out with verses from the Baha'i Writings, all of them by Bahá'u'lláh. As there are nine entrances to the building, there are nine verses above the doors and nine inside the buildings above the alcoves.

The verses outside are engraved into the stone, in large legible letters. Above the doors are small engraved versions of the "Greatest Name", one of several Bahá'í symbols and an elaborate decorative design that includes the letters ABHA, representing the prayer "Alláh u Abhá" (God is Most Glorious) in Arabic. It is the numerical value of these four letters in the words abha and baha (for Bahá'u'lláh) that add up to total nine, one of reasons Bahá'í House of Worships are nine-sided.

The most decorative element on the outside of the building is the tracery on the nine towers. These are intertwined with the generally recognized symbols of many world religions, including the Cross, the star and crescent, the Star of David, and the original swastika design, an ancient symbol having arms bent at right angles, used for thousands of years as a representative symbol of world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The only decorative symbol inside the auditorium is a large, lighted version of the Greatest Name in the exact center of the inside of the dome.

For many years the Bahá'í House of Worship was associated with a "home for the aged", operated by the U.S. Bahá'í community. The Bahá'í Home has since closed, although the building remains in use for a local Baha'i School and regional training center.

On April 30, 2007, the Bahá'í House of Worship was named one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism representing the Chicago metropolitan area.

Photo captured August 31, 2011.

NIKON D7000 1/320 second F/9.0 ISO 100 66 mm

New photos posted on most Mondays through Thursdays.
All photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed without my expressed, written consent.

Spotlight Images

Nicou from Sion, Switzerland

Quelle coupole qquelle architecture et finesse dans ce ciel pur.

23 Mar 2017 5:19am

Jypyä Pop from Turku, Finland

Fantastic dome

23 Mar 2017 5:44am

Claudine/canelle from FRance, France

Que c'est beau ...bravo pour l'architecture
On croirait une dentelle..
Merci pour les explications
Bonne soirée

23 Mar 2017 6:51am

Martine from France

Magnifique construction !

23 Mar 2017 7:51am

Graciel·la (Vic. Catalonia) from CAT. New European State, Poland

Wow !! a fine art work

23 Mar 2017 8:17am

Hiro from Kyoto, Japan

incredible artwork !!!

23 Mar 2017 9:19am

Martine Libouton from Bousval, Belgium

Un magnifique travail de sculpture !!!

23 Mar 2017 9:50am

grouser from Ludlow, United Kingdom

Beautifully ornate and well documented

23 Mar 2017 10:38am

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Superb work of lace, perfect on the azur of the sky !

23 Mar 2017 11:00am

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States


23 Mar 2017 2:12pm

Etsu from Kyoto, Japan

Beautiful church. Wonderful color contrast.

23 Mar 2017 2:43pm

Don from Spokane, United States

An impressive dome with all the artistic designs. Excelelnt shot.

23 Mar 2017 3:07pm

Sam from Chennai, India

Stunning. Amazing details. Excellent composition and information. :)

23 Mar 2017 3:29pm

fateme@@ from Dezful, Iran

So beautiful...

23 Mar 2017 3:36pm

willy from Belgium

comme une dentelle..

très belle architecture de cette coupole impressionante

une image de toute beauté Steven


23 Mar 2017 3:55pm

Claudiel from belgium, Belgium

It is very interesting to read. Successful shot

23 Mar 2017 3:56pm

Adela Fonts from Barcelona, Spain

It is a magnificent dome without a doubt! It looks like a lace... !

23 Mar 2017 6:22pm

Adela Fonts from Barcelona, Spain

Excellent information Steven!

23 Mar 2017 6:23pm

tataray from Charentes-Poitou, France

Wouahhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... magnifiques détails et belles explications .

23 Mar 2017 6:42pm

Lalena from Barcelona, Spain

Excellent!!Thank you for the information!

23 Mar 2017 9:02pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

such beautiful frame, lights & details!
Lovely dome!

23 Mar 2017 9:04pm

Michael Rawluk from Williams Lake, BC, Canada

That is incredible.

23 Mar 2017 9:19pm

Elaine Hancock from Olney, United States

This is just spectacular! The dome is just so ornate and intricate in it's design. The information is excellent. Something that I did not know.

23 Mar 2017 11:02pm

Harry from Apex, NC, United States

beautiful detail and symmetry

24 Mar 2017 1:31am

L'Angevine from Angers, France


24 Mar 2017 2:28pm

Remus from Portugal

No doubt it is a building, where the level of detail is taken almost to the limit. It is a very artistic and beautiful architecture / decoration.

24 Mar 2017 3:29pm

London Caller from United Kingdom

Taj Mahal, Illinois version! ;)

24 Mar 2017 9:12pm

Tomek from PoznaƄ, Poland

Superb architecture.

25 Mar 2017 2:58pm

Marité from France

Quelle architecture ! Et quelle finesse dans ce dôme. C'est presque de la dentelle !
Bonne journée !

25 Mar 2017 4:23pm

ventiqueras from Italy

un preziosissim o merletto, ottimamente presentato!

25 Mar 2017 5:38pm

Devi from Chennai, India

wonderful piece of architecture !!!!

26 Mar 2017 10:37am

Chetan from Gurgaon, India

intricate craftsmanship. Thanks for sharing the details

26 Mar 2017 1:55pm

franz from Baden, Austria

Elaborate, intricate and absolutely beautiful - as it becomes a holy place like this!

27 Mar 2017 12:54pm

Baldwin VW from Bejuma, Venezuela

Stunning architecture ... the intrincate details are absolutely spectacular !!! Excellent capture ...

27 Mar 2017 10:33pm

Mhelene from Villiers-sur-Marne, France

Beautiful details .

31 Mar 2017 10:10am