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Baha’i Temple in Chile Wins Innovation in Architecture Award by RAIC

The Baha’i Temple of South America, designed by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, has won the 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). The temple is located in Santiago, Chile, in the foothills if the Andes Mountains. It has an open worship space sheltered by dome-like structure, composed of 9 massive veils, capable of hosting 600 visitors.

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects – Photography: Vanessa Guillen

“The Bahá’í Temple of South America reflects innovations in materials, technology, and structure,” says the RAIC. “For instance, a search for materials that capture light resulted in the development of two cladding materials: an interior layer of translucent marble from Portugal, and an exterior layer of cast-glass panels developed, in collaboration with the Canadian glass artist Jeff Goodman, for this project.”

Since the temple stands in an earthquake zone, it was designed to be seismic and wind resistant, by means of specially designed steel member and connections based on seismic-bearing concrete columns.

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects – Photography: Sebastian Wilson Leon

“I am very pleased to receive this award,” said partner-in-charge Siamak Hariri, FRAIC. “The brief was for a new type of sacred space, a place of worship that is attractive, open, and inviting to people of all faiths or none at all. Innovation was at the heart of the project. The award is a testimony to the deep collaboration of literally hundreds of people.”

The temple was completed in a duration of 14 years, and it opened in 2016. The RAIC will be presenting the award to the winning practice in Ottawa, between May 24 and 27.

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