The Baha’i Temple of South America - with magnificent view of the Andes Mountains and onto Santiago de Chile - was inaugurated in 2016. The temple of Baha’i religious community which is spread all over the world, consists of nine transparent veils which seem to directly rise from the ground and resemble closed petals of flowers. The veils are glazed with translucent cast glass units which look like transparent stones. During the day, they allow light to pass through and during the night, they are suffused with warm light. The support structure of the 30 m high building consists of a highly sophisticated framework with rectangular steel hollow sections and mechanically processed steel nodes. All components of the individual veils have their own unique and highly irregular shape.
The temple, designed by the Canadian firm Hariri Pontarini Architects has been built on a 10 ha area at an altitude of approx. 900 m. The building has a diameter of 33 m and is designed to accommodate 600 visitors.
Steel space frame structure, outer cladding with cast glass, inner cladding with stone panels, entrance areas with double curved glazing and bronze cladding, for an overall area of over 5,000 sqm (53,800 sq ft).
At the outside, the façade is clad with 3,022 sqm (32,500 sq ft) of cast glass and at the inside with 2,015 sqm (21,300 sq ft) of marble. The translucent cast glass units have undergone a time-consuming process; several layers of glass fragments have been melted down to a 32 mm (1 17/64") thick glazing while the original fragments remain clearly visible. Following the proposal made by Gartner, the steel structure of the temple has been technically optimized using a three-dimensional framework. The 3D tube and node system allowed to reduce the steel tonnage. In total, 420 t of steel have been used – approx. 165 t for the three-dimensional framework, 110 t for the primary support structure, and 100 t for the nodes.
OWNER & CLIENT: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada
ARCHITECT: Hariri Pontarini Architects
FAÇADE CONSULTANT: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC) 'Innovation in Architecture' 2017 Winner
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