Shoghi Effendi laid out the design of the path leading to the Shrine of Bahaullah (and its immediate surroundings) and personally overlooked the work of beautifying that section of Bahji. In so doing, he used to stand on the roof of his workroom situated just to the north of the section he was designing.

In the pilgrimage booklet it says the following about the Guardians workroom (see pictures) .

“This small building outside the quadrant of the Haram-i-Aqdas had been a utility building for Nasif Hawwa’s olive groves. The Guardian rebuilt it, fitted the roof as a place from which he could observe the developments of the gardens, furnished it with tables for his drawing and sketches and decorated its walls with maps. “

The Guardian Workroom

The Guardians Workroom in 2014

Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery tells the following story:

One evening, Shoghi Effendi came to the dinner table with an expression of inner joy and determination on his face. After the usual greetings and before we started our meal, he looked around and said: ‘Early tomorrow morning we all shall go to Bahji; I am asking every available man to be there, as we have some very important work to do.’ This was the beginning of one week of intense labour which completely changed the nature and aspect of the grounds – already described as a ‘sea of sand’ – into a garden and paradise of incomparable beauty.

The reader can hardly imagine what took place in those blessed days. All able-bodied men were there at the appointed hour. Shoghi Effendi with his masterly skill, already demonstrated in his beautification of the surroundings of the shrine of the Báb followed a plan preconceived in his mind. Assisted by his chauffeur, who carried a ball of string and some wooden pickets, he traced all the paths, nine in number, which like a fan were to radiate from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh towards a semicircular line (130 degrees; that is, about one-third of an arc) one hundred and ten metres away.

Guided by the strings which marked the paths, some of the gardeners dug small trenches in which to plant hedges of thyme. The widest path was the one leading from the ‘circle’ to the door of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. With a joyous expression on his face, Shoghi Effendi said: ‘Finally we have a dignified way to reach the Shrine, the approach to which I shall further beautify.’ A group of small dilapidated buildings cluttering the south end of the space between the Mansion of Bahji and the Shrine was in no time torn down and the stone used to build a level platform in front of the Mansion on the side of the main entrance. 

Everyone was working with alacrity and high spirits, as we were conscious of the process of purification of that holy ground – often blessed by the presence of God’s Manifestation – and of the creation of the ‘Haram-i-Aqdas’, to surround forever that Most Sacred Spot. Each one was doing a chore; personally, I was helping Shoghi Effendi with the tracing of the paths and the star shaped flower beds. I was so entranced with his speed and resolution in giving form to a life-long dream that I had no eyes for anything else but him. (Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery, “Shoghi Effendi – Recollections,” p. 127)

Aerial Picuture of Bahji

Aerial photo of Bahji from the end of 1960-ties. The Guardians Workroom is visible just north of the line of cypress trees as white cubic-shaped building.