Described in a CBC feature as “embodied light”, the Baha’i House of Worship of South America opens this week in Santiago, Chile. Designed by Canadian architect Siamak Hariri, the Temple has already received several awards and increasing media attention. It is the last of eight continental Temples completed by the Baha’i Community around the world, and marks a milestone in the development of the South American Baha’i Community.
More than 5,000 Baha’is will be attending the Dedication Ceremonies, along with representatives of government, civil society and religious communities in South America.
Canadian architectural writer, Lisa Rochon, has described the Temple as “a luminous structure that echoes the rolling topography of the Andes while appearing to float some 30 metres above the earth… visitors will experience a mesmerizing transfer of light from the exterior of cast glass to an interior of translucent Portuguese marble. At sunset, the light captured within the dome shifts from gold to ochre to deep red.” The Temple lies in the foothills of the Andes as they rise to the south-east of Santiago in the municipality of Peñalolen.
Baha’i Houses of Worship are open to all, no matter what faith they profess, or no faith at all. The design itself of the Baha’i Temples reflect the universality for which it stands, with nine sides and nine doors opening to all directions. The simple interior avoids ornamentation such as images or icons. There are no clergy or ritual. A haven for prayer, meditation and the deepest contemplation on the questions of life, including individual and collective responsibility for the betterment of society, the Temple aims to inspire a combination of worship of God with service to the community.
Four of the eight Baha’i Temples around the world have been designed by Canadian architects. The first, located just north of Chicago, was designed in the early 20th century by Quebec architect Louis Bourgeois, and was opened as the North American Baha’i Temple in the early 1950s, since becoming a landmark. In subsequent years, Canadian Fariborz Sahba designed the Asian Baha’i Temple in New Delhi, often referred to as the “Lotus Temple”, and among the most visited buildings in the world. Vancouver architect Hossein Amanat designed the Baha’i Temple of Oceania in Apia, Samoa. The four other continental Temples are in Europe (Frankfurt, Germany), Africa (Kampala, Uganda), Panama, and Australia (Sydney).
For further information see the digital press release: https://issuu.com/hariripontariniarchitects/docs/2016_bahai_digitalpresskit-final/1
For further stories about the Dedication of the House of Worship of South America see: news.bahai.org.
For further information contact:
Contact Gerald Filson, Director of Public Affairs
Baha’i Community of Canada
905-889-8168 cell: 416-587-0632