Hariri Pontarini Architects Designs Bahá’í Temple in Santiago

Japanese bamboo baskets and Sufi dancers are cited among the influences for the design. Image courtesy Guy Wenborne.

Nestled in the foothills of the Andes outside of Santiago, Chile, the Bahá’í Temple shows off its unique design from Hariri Pontarini Architects. Following 15 years of development, the temple is the final installation of eight continental temples commissioned by the Bahá’í community. The locally based firm cites a variety of sources informing the temple, which was conceived not to reference specific deities in order to welcome practitioners of all faiths.

Image courtesy Guy Wenborne.

The elegant design recalls interwoven strands of Japanese bamboo baskets, twirling Sufi dancers, and sunlight rippling through tree branches. Hariri Pontarini also crafted the temple to explore the interaction between antithetical concepts such as stillness and motion, and simplicity and complexity. Natural light and seasonal colors infuse the main canopy with unique shades, while it emits a soft glow from within after sunset.

Images courtesy Ian David and Vanessa Guillen.

Translucent marble sourced from Portuguese Estremoz quarries is used for the interior, while cast panels grace the exterior. Nearly 1,130 pieces of flat and curved cut glass were assembled to create each of the temple’s nine torqued wings, which are also clad with hundreds of steel members and nodal connections.