My son, Haigh Nicholson, has been in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Columbia and other South American countries where he has been learning Spanish and then travelling with my daughter in Chile and Argentina on bicycles before returning back to Australia.
Haigh reported that at that time the construction of the Baha'i Temple in Chile east of Santiago had apparently been held up by practical issues that caused delays. See picture above and below. It will have nine translucent spinaker sails. It is in the Panelolen district in the foothills of the Andes and on the eastern fringe of the City. It has already been given a design award (see below).
An early model of the Baha'i House of Worship for the South American continent, simulating how it will appear at night. Foundation work is well under way for the new Baha'i House of Worship for the South American continent, in the Chilean capital of Santiago. The House of Worship, with its surrounding water gardens of plant species native to the region, will cover some 10 hectares of a 50 hectare site. Excavation has now being completed of an area measuring 62 meters in diameter, and the building's foundations are underway. The diameter of the House of Worship itself is approximately 30 meters.
"Striking and original"
The project to construct a Baha'i House of Worship in Chile was announced in 2001. A call for submission of designs was made the following year by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Chile, eliciting 185 entries from more than 80 countries.
The design brief called for a domed structure with nine entrances which, symbolically, would welcome people from all directions of the earth for the praise and glorification of God. From a shortlist of four entries, Hariri Pontarini Architects was given the go-ahead to develop its scheme, described by the Universal House of Justice in its recent message as a "striking and original design."
The building consists of an arrangement of nine translucent "wings," rising directly from the ground, and giving the impression of floating over a large reflecting lily pool. The wings will allow sunlight to filter through during the day, while at night the House of Worship will emit a warm glow from its interior lighting.
The innovative design required that an entirely new form of cast glass be invented for the building's exterior. "That was an exploratory journey that took some 18 months," says Mr. Hariri, whose team needed to develop technologies that would ensure the building's survival in the environmental conditions of the location, a highly active seismic zone.
Since it was first unveiled, the design for the House of Worship has been praised in more than 40 international journals, and received numerous accolades. Canadian Architect featured the building as one of its 2004 Awards of
Excellence. A judge described it as representing "a rare convergence of forces that seem destined to produce a monument so unique as to become a global landmark..."
Most recently, in August, a global panel of almost 100 judges named the House of Worship joint winner in the World Architecture News "Civic Building - Unbuilt" award category.
Baha'i temples all have 9 sides with 9 doors, representing the various great revealed religions, with the one supreme God of all represented in the centre. Inside are the holy books of all these religions. The only words spoken, chanted or sung inside are from these holy books. There are no priests or sermons and no offerings. They are open to all people for divine worship only.