Press Release: Contemporary Sufi memorial brings Iranian mysticism to the heart of the English countryside

 

A mausoleum dedicated to the memory of a prominent Sufi Master, Dr Javad Nurbakhsh, has recently completed construction. As a memorial to one of the foremost figures in modern Sufi culture, the construction combines a blend of striking design and organic materials, to present a refreshingly modern take on mysticism, without detracting from Dr Nurbakhsh’s timeless spiritual ideals.

UK based multidisciplinary creative studio, Borheh, have unveiled the completed memorial, which adds a unique spiritual character to the English countryside. Located in Banbury, England, the mausoleum stands at a beautiful natural location chosen by Dr Nurbakhsh himself during his lifetime, nestled amongst a dense wooded grove, named “the Forest”.

The memorial combines traditional Iranian architecture with contemporary local materials, to result in a construction that reflects the Iranian heritage of Dr Nurbakhsh, while remaining in keeping with the local landscape. The structure is created from copper-coated steel, which will allow a natural change across the material after it is exposed to the elements. Over time, it will develop a vibrant green patina, as the structure evolves and adapts organically with the surrounding forest.

Using traditional Persian architectural motifs, the mausoleum evokes the principles of Sufi mysticism with a unified display of geometrical perfection. Eight overlapping triangular arches converge together in a form known as Karbandy, maintaining a balance of strength and elegance across every point. The geometrical perfection of the form is manifested through its interaction with the sun, as the natural path of sunlight creates a unique pattern of shadows through the passing of the day.

For minimum impact to the natural landscape, Borheh utilised an innovative approach to construction by following a modular method. Each part of the mausoleum was constructed separately in Iran in Dr Nurbakhsh’s hometown using local artisanal techniques, before being transported to the UK and reassembled on site. While this was by no means an easy endeavour, this process ensured both the protection of the natural landscape that would be home to the mausoleum, and faithfulness to the monument’s cultural heritage.

The project is a result of a combination of cutting edge technologies with traditional artistic principles, and forms the ideal monument to the life work of a modern mystic.