The Baha’i Temple of South America in Santiago, Chile, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects of Toronto was selected as the winner of the 2019 RAIC International Prize, by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
Temple: The Latest Architecture and News
Located in south-east Turkey, the 11,000-year-old Göbekli Tepe is considered to be the world’s oldest temple, greatly surpassing England’s Stonehenge, and the Egyptian pyramids. The ancient site, awarded Unesco World Heritage status in July 2018, predates pottery, writing, and the wheel, leading archaeologists such as its discoverer Klaus Schmidt to ask if Göbekli Tepe may, in fact, be not only the world’s first piece of architecture but a crucial catalyst for the onset of settled societies.
Spread across eight hectares near the city of Sanliurfa, the Göbekli Tepe is an artificial mound hosting a series of sunken circular structures adorned with limestone carvings, believed to have been occupied for thousands of years before their abandonment.
Constructing places of worship has always been an intricate practice, managing to detach the human, and release the boundary between body, mind, and spirit. Holy presence has been crucial in designing and constructing sacred places, which is why almost all religious building possessed similar characteristics: grandiosity, monolithic material, natural elements, and a plan that compliments an individual’s circulation through the space. Contemporary religious structures, however, found a way to adapt to the evolution of architecture. Unlike the Gothic or Baroque periods, modern-day architecture does not have a dominant identity. It is, in fact, a combination of postmodernism, futurism, minimalism, and everything in between. Architects have found a way to transform these exclusive, religion-devoted places into structures of spirituality, manifestation, and fascination.
Here is a selection of contemporary religious buildings that prove once again that architects are breaking all boundaries of creativity.
The Bahá'í International Community has unveiled a proposal for the national Bahá'í House of Worship of Papua New Guinea. In the capital city of Port Moresby, a celebration was held at the temple’s future site to showcase the scheme, coinciding with the Bahá'í New Year. Inspired by the art of weaving, the architects’ vision was for a temple where the people of Papa New Guinea could unite to worship and find inspiration.
In a recent TED Talk, architect Siamak Hariri takes the audience inside his design process for the Bahá'í Temple of South America. Responding to an open call in 2003 to design the last of the faith's continental temples in Santiago, Chile, Hariri recalls a moment as a student at Yale when he learned about the transcendent power of architecture, a moment he tried to recreate in the twelve-year project.
It is unsurprising that Athens, the city widely considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, would have made as celebrated a contribution to architecture as it has to countless other human pursuits. Built on a hilltop above the contemporary city, the weathered marble complex known as the Acropolis stands as a faded remnant from the former city-state’s ancient glory years, surrounded by the products of the centuries that followed. The greatest of these landmarks, the Parthenon, captures an age long past when Athens was the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in Greece and beyond.
Locked within Rome’s labyrinthine maze of narrow streets stands one of the most renowned buildings in the history of architecture. Built at the height of the Roman Empire’s power and wealth, the Roman Pantheon has been both lauded and studied for both the immensity of its dome and its celestial geometry for over two millennia. During this time it has been the subject of countless imitations and references as the enduring architectural legacy of one of the world’s most influential epochs.