The Bahá’í Temple in Chile is a Universal Place of Worship Welcoming All Religions or None at All
Santiago, Chile’s capital, just inaugurated the Bahá’í Temple, which is a universal place of worship that welcomes all religions or none at all. This building is not only remarkable from an architectural point of view, it’s also a step forward from a spiritual way of looking at things.
“This is a place that is welcoming all the religions, or if you have no religion,” said Siamak Hariri, the architect behind the Bahá’í temple, who also believes in Bahá’í himself. “It’s an architectural challenge. How do you give something a form that means this?”
The building’s structure was designed to embody the unity of mankind, which is what the Bahá’í faith stands for. Bahá’í is an independent religion founded in Iran during the 19th century. The Bahá’í Temple built in Chile is the final temple built to ‘worship’ this faith. It is part of a series of eight continental temples, the most notable ones being the Temple of North America in Wilmette, Illinois, and The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.
The criteria that must be respected when erecting a Bahá’í temple is that each building must have “a nine-sided domed structure with nine entrances to symbolically welcome people from all directions of the earth for prayer and meditation.”
The building could be described as a “garden that has no limits” in the architect’s own words. “The temple is like a drapery of light,” says Hariri, “It’s not light passing through — it’s captured light.”
Since Chile is a very active seismic region, the building had to be based on an earthquake proof structure. Three universities from Canada, US and Chile collaborated to create a system that will allow the temple to move 600 millimeters during and earthquake, in order to avoid the building to collapse.
The Bahá’í Temple is built to last 400 years and we can only hope that the entire world will find peace by then, no matter the religion, if any at all.