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On the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, where suburban sprawl meets the foothills of the Andes, the Bahá’í Temple of South America rises like an exotic flower on the cusp of blooming, its nine translucent glass-and-marble sails bulging outward before spiraling over a single interior space to converge at a 30-metre-high apex. The material draws in dappled sunlight by day and radiates a soft interior glow by night.

The Bahá’í Faith is all about universality, so Hariri Pontarini Architects was careful not to refer to specific religious iconography in their work. The result, with its hearth-like radiance, unambiguously evokes spirituality – and even transcendence.

Projects: Bahá’í Temple of South America

Location: Santiago, Chile

Firm: Hariri Pontarini Architects, Canada

Team: Siamak Hariri, Justin Huang Ford and Doron Meinhard with Adriana Balen, Michael Boxer, Jaegap Chung, John Cook, Jimmy Farrington, Tiago Masrour, Jin-Yi McMillen, Donald Peters, George Simionopoulos, Mehrdad Tavakkolian and Tahirih Viveros

Bahá’í Temple of South America
This year's AZ Awards of Merit in the category of Architecture over 1,000M² went to bold and inspiring large-scale projects in five different countries.

Explore more Award Winners

WinnerBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Marlon Blackwell Architect, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
Marlon Blackwell, Mark Herrmann, David Jaehning and Joe Stanley with Meryati Johari Blackwell, Jonathan Boelkins, William Burks, Angela Carpenter, Craig Curzon, John Dupree, Conley Fikes, Laura Lyon, Sarah Menyhart Bennings, J. B. Mullins, Bradford Payne, Michael Pope, Kimberly Braden Prescott, Stephen Reyenga, Reese Rowland, Michelle Teague, Jim Thacker, Christopher Thomas and Wesley Walls.
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Højbjerg, Denmark
Henning Larsen Architects
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Zaha Hadid Architects,U.K.
Beijing, China