History of the Centre
TWELVE YEARS IN THE MAKING
On Wednesday 24th November 1999, the Mayor of Derby, Councillor Sara Bolton, clicked a computer-mouse at the Official Launch of the Fund-Raising Campaign, triggering a display in the hall at the University of Derby and on www.multifaithnet.org. Mark Swindells’ design for the Centre zoomed out from a Planet Earth wreathed in circling religious symbols, to the strains of Richard Strauss’ Sunrise Fanfare, beloved of fans of the film “2001”.
In 1996, Mark’s vision of an organically interrelated “village of spaces” had won an architectural competition, adjudicated by the members of seven world faith traditions who had nurtured the concept, since the first proposals were tabled in 1991-92.
Holding the competition was itself a triumph for dialogue: hammering out the design parameters for a building which would be “sacred but neutral”.
Now we were faced with a new challenge – were we too diffident to ask people for money? We have since learned that Fund-Raising is a positive force. When people contribute they become real stakeholders, so all communities have literally “bought into” this project to promote understanding and mutual respect through dialogue. This cross-community involvement convinced the Millennium Commission to match our fund-raising pound for pound.
The project has been downsized, but Mark’s ceaseless imagination is giving us something just as wonderful – echoing a deep-rooted earthfast structure, encased in shards of rock reminiscent of the Orkney Islands’ Ring of Brodgar, it reaches into the past to point to the future. How appropriate that just after the Winter Solstice , as the light began to return, young children were laying the foundations.
Professor Jonathan Powers