Religious believers from local communities conceived the idea for this ambitious project in Bern, Switzerland, well over a decade ago. As a result of their vision for creating an interreligious space, Europan5 launched an architectural competition in 1999, which was won by Madir Shah of Urbanoffice in Amsterdam. The competition marked the start of a fifteen-year-long process of realization.
The core idea for this project was the creation of a place that would accommodate sacred spaces for five world religions under one roof. A unique place of worship that facilitates the meeting of people from different cultures, nationalities, and religious groups in one place.
Dark gray Swisspearl Texial panels with two different embossed surface textures were used as the primary cladding material; this was well chosen as it is neutral and restrained, allowing the reflective, glazed section housing the religious spaces to be more prominent. Furthermore, as the fiber cement panels allow a great deal of flexibility, it gave the architects the freedom to configure the fenestration in different ways and to denote the various stacked functions.