Seat of the Universal House of Justice
The building on the Arc of Mount Carmel which houses the council chamber and offices of the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice wrote that the Seat 'will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative centre but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh.'
Shoghi Effendi stated that the permanent Seat of the Universal House of Justice would be built on the slopes of Mount Carmel in the vicinity of the Shrine of the Báb and the resting places of members of Bahá’u’lláh’s family. In anticipation, the Guardian developed beautiful gardens around an arc-shaped path, and envisaged a number of edifices destined to serve as the world administrative centre of the Bahá’í Faith.
The building, designed by architect Husayn Amanat, was begun in 1972 and completed in 1982. The second building of the Arc Complex, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, is designed in the ancient Greek Corinthian style. The classical exterior provides a monument of enduring Classical beauty in the gardens, while the interior provides very modern and flexible facilities for this administrative centre. Spaces include a reception concourse, banquet hall, main council room, meeting rooms, libraries, executive offices, open office areas, data processing centre, manuscript preservation vault, staff lounge and dining rooms all integrated in approximately 9 200 m² of floor area in a total of six floors. A 10.8 m high marble colonnade around the building is approached through the main entrance portal, comprised of three rows of columns. This high space pierces deep into the interior by gradually decreasing proportions through a low vestibule to the main hall, leading to the fluid spaces of the building, variable in proportion and form; all created from the same architectural module.
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice stands at the apex of the arc on Mount Carmel. On its eastern side is the permanent building for the institution of the International Teaching Centre. On the other side is the Centre for the Study of the Texts—which houses a library and various offices—and the International Bahá’í Archives building, which contains historical artifacts and precious mementos associated with the Central Figures of the Faith and the early years of the Bahá’í religion.
The importance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice in relation to the other buildings on the arc is clearly expressed by its location as well as by architectural details, its size and height.