Competition entry for a Sufi temple in the Berkshire Mountains of New York.
The fire left behind a stone foundation, which is a tie to the earth and a tie the earlier community who erected it. This masonry artifact is a symbol of continuity and a bridge to the past. This foundation is within a circle of quartz stones set on the ground. This ring of stone is to be planted throughout with low bush blueberries. This humble plant defines the temple precinct as distinct from the surrounding forest floor. The seasonal changes of the plant animate the site. From early spring leaves, to white berries, to red berries, to deep blue-purple berries, to vibrant red autumn leaves, the plant reminds us of nature’s cycles.
Materials have been selected to embody the present time and place and to demonstrate the cycles of nature. The timbers are joined with pegs and joinery that evidence the human hands that have shaped the natural material. Copper panels weather throughout the seasons and display the passage of time. The canvas is enlivened by sunlight that makes it glow and the moving shadows cast by the surrounding trees. The banners at the perimeter of the oculus are animated as the passing breeze catches them. The Universel displays the natural processes of its specific place on the earth.