Bahá’í Temple of South America

Bahá’í Temple of South America

Hariri Pontarini Architects
Diagonal Las Torres 2000, Peñalolén, Chile | View Map
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Hariri Pontarini Architects

doublespace photography

Nine monumental glass veils

Hariri Pontarini Architects as Architects

The Bahá’í Temple of South America uses light for its spiritual and design inspiration. Set within the foothills of the Andes bordering the metropolis of Santiago, Chile, it represents the last of eight continental Temples commissioned by the Bahá’í Community. Its nine monumental glass veils frame an open and accessible worship space where up to 600 visitors can be accommodated. Looking up to the central oculus at the apex of the dome, 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 white to silver to ochre and purple.


Expressing a faith of inclusion, the Temple is more than just a story of complex design, innovation, sustainability, and construction; it is the embodiment of a community’s aspirations.  Since the opening in October of 2016, the Temple has become a major attractor in South America welcoming up to 36,000 visitors each weekend.


The design was developed through hand sketches, physical models, and digital technology. The aim was to achieve an interplay of contradictions: stillness and movement, simplicity and complexity, intimacy and monumentality; a solid structure capable of dissolving in light. 

An investigation into material qualities that embody light resulted in the development of two cladding materials: translucent marble from the Portuguese Estremoz quarries for the interior layer, and cast-glass panels for the exterior. 

The final fabrication of the steel superstructure was made possible only through advanced fabrication techniques. The multitude of parts was assembled in Germany into manageable sections, and then shipped and assembled on site in Chile.

The super-structures of the wings are comprised of hundreds of unique, individually engineered slim-profile steel members and nodal connections. Each of the wings rest on concrete rings and columns on elastomeric seismic isolators, so that in the event of an earthquake, the concrete pads slide horizontally to absorb the shock.

Hand-finished interior materials such as walnut and leather were selected to bring a warm textural quality. Patinaed bronze for elements such as doors, exterior soffits, and railings was chosen as a durable complement to the interior cladding materials.

Translucent marble panels form the interior wall of the Temple. Flat pieces were water-jet cut from slabs to the exact shape defined by the computer model. Each wing of the nine-sided Temple contains over 870 unique pieces of marble.

Bahá'í Temple

Entro as Consultants

The Bahá'í Temple of South America is a worship site in Chile that is intended to serve all, irrespective of background, religion, gender or social standing. Hariri Pontarini Architects enlisted Entro to design the wayfinding, regulatory, and identification signage for the temple path, entrance wall, and visitor centre.

The signage program is both minimalistic and impactful, while speaking to the architectural form of the temple. The temple walls are made up of nine curved leaves comprised of a combination of cast glass and stone. A series of sacred quotations are CNC carved out of marble on the inside of these leaves, giving expression to the faith. Intended to inspire thoughtfulness and reflection from visitors, our solution ensured that the overall display of the quotes worked well with the curve of the leaves and the nature of the environment – one of pause and individual prayer.

Often in the bidding process, we are called upon by architects to showcase their proposed architectural design concept in an appropriate and visually impressive way. Such was the case when Hariri Pontarini Architects was still one of the competing architecture firms to design the temple. Entro created a book that used a subtle yet engaging design, allowing HPA’s beautiful conceptual images to speak for themselves and outline their concept for the future Bahá'í Temple.

The completed Temple has been described as “one of architecture’s most ambitious undertakings” by the Globe and Mail and we are delighted to have supported such an iconic structure.

Project Credits
Structural Consultant
Landscape Architects
Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct name
Glass CladdingJeff Goodman Studio
Superstructure and CladdingJosef Gartner GmbH
Product Spec Sheet
Superstructure and Cladding
by Wasser
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