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Temple and Community

The Bahá’í House of Worship of South America was constructed with the combined effort of the global Bahá’í community and is the result of decade long collaboration between diverse institutions, professionals and volunteers around the world.

The design of the temple was inspired by a text from Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, in which He describes what occurs when we allow the divine light to permeate our hearts. He uses the metaphor of a house that is occupied by its legitimate owner. When this occurs ”all the pillars of the dwelling are ashine with His light.”.

This image of a home created from light was the starting point for the Canadian architecture firm Hariri Pontarini Architects.The team directed by Siamak Hariri was led to imagine a translucent building, the interior of which would receive natural light during the day, and the exterior of which would glow with a soft and warm resplendence at night.

o turn this design into reality, the materials were required to not only be translucent, but suited for use in a city like Santiago. After an arduous search, a quarry in Portugal was selected to produce marble, which demonstrated to be ideal to adorn the interior walls of the Temple. For the exterior, a Canadian artisan developed plates from cast borosilicate glass, a material which resists extreme temperatures without cracking.

The gardens surrounding the Temple continue the same patterns and movements of the main building. The task of their design and implementation was entrusted to Juan Grimm, a renowned Chilean landscape architect. Using predominantly native species, Grimm created an environment where the Temple could be approached from different angles— respecting the pace of each visitor— and offering a privileged panoramic view of Santiago and the Andean foothills.