Peñalolén: The Latest Architecture and News
Now nearing completion just outside Santiago, Hariri Pontarini Architects' Bahá'í Temple of South America is currently one of the most significant religious construction projects in the world. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Sacred Structure," Guy Horton relates how - despite being in progress for almost a decade already - the design has changed remarkably little from the initial design sketch, using the latest technology to create a spiritual and emotional space.
For the last few years, in the Andean foothills just outside Santiago, Chile, a mysterious orb-like structure has been slowly rising under construction cranes. The new Bahá’i Temple of South America will be the first of its kind on the continent when it opens in 2016. It has been a historic journey for the Bahá’i faith in this part of the world—Bahá’i first arrived in Chile in 1919—and a patient journey for the architects, engineers, and builders who have brought the temple to life through a decade-long process of innovation.
Architect in ChargeSiamak Hariri - Hariri Pontarini Architects
Local ArchitectBL Arquitectos
ClientNational Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada
General ContractorDesarrollo y Construcción del Templo Bahá'í para Sudamérica Ltda.
PhotographsCourtesy of Bahá’í Temple of South America
Nearly four years after the start of its construction, South America’s first Bahá’í temple is beginning to take shape. Designed by Canadian firm Hariri Pontarini Architects, the temple is being constructed at the foothills of the Andes in Santiago, Chile. The building is comprised of “nine translucent wings, rising directly from the ground, and giving the impression of floating over a large reflecting water pool,” describes the project’s website. Each wing is designed like a leaf, with a steel “main stem” and “secondary veins of steel” supporting its cast glass exterior. During the day, the cast glass will filter sunlight into the temple, while at night the temple’s interior lighting will produce a soft glow on the outside.
The structure’s steel columns are now fully self-supported on its concrete foundation, and the steel frames and interior marble panels of each of the nine wings have been completed. In October, the project reached an important milestone as the installation of the cast glass cladding began on the outside of the wings.