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South America's First Bahá'í Temple Will be a Desert Beacon

All photos courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects. Photo by Guy Wenbourne
All photos courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects. Photo by Guy Wenbourne

The architects of this Bahá'í Temple are using a combination of translucent marble and pyrex glass to create an incomparable beacon of light. Designed by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, their proposal was selected out of 120 submissions precisely because light is an essential part of every Bahá'í house of worship: illumination is a symbol and expression of unity, a core concept in the Bahá'í faith.

Every wall of this temple will allow light to pass through: its nine 'sails' will be covered with cast glass on their exterior – essentially Pyrex – and translucent marble on the interior. The 1.5-inch cast-glass panels are a unique architectural feature: the material, which took years of development, can resist the extreme changes in desert climate. This means that the temple, located outside Santiago, Chile, will glow with sunlight by day and, by night, radiate interior light like a beacon.


Newsreel part 8: Connection with South America - May 2015 from Templo Bahá'í de Sudamérica on Vimeo.

Bahá'í Temple of South America [Hariri Pontarini Architects]