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Bahá’í Temple, Chile

Designed by acclaimed Canadian architectural firm, Hariri Pontarini Architects’, the Bahá’í Temple of Chile in South America used the state of the art technology to create a spiritual and emotional space. The engineering firms were keen on keeping the integrity of the architectural form. The resulting design is a sculptural building composed of nine identical, torqued wings. Inside, the temple contains a light-filled space for prayer and meditation that is topped with a central oculus.

Even in the final stages, Gartner Steel and Glass came up with a new approach that eliminated the sub-frame, saving over $850,000.


Going in an entirely unexpected direction, the architects created a form made up of nine “sails” that twist, bend, and curve as they reach up to join an “oculus” at the apex. In the harsh Andean terrain, the building appears to billow and coil lightly as it emerges from its heavy concrete base.

Located in an earthquake zone, the structure was designed to withstand extreme earthquakes and wind. Each of the wings rests on concrete columns on seismic bearings, so that in the event of an earthquake, the building can slide to absorb the shock. The superstructure of the wings was built using hundreds of slim-profile steel members and nodal connections. Each of the nine wings of the building have two surfaces – one of cast glass and one of stone, resting on a steel structure.

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