The Bahá’í House of Worship of South America in Santiago, Chile, is the eighth temple in the world to be constructed for this small religious community whose mission is to unify the world’s religions. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects as a singular object representing a “flower of light,” the structure is comprised of nine cast-glass petals. The irregular-shaped voids in between become vertical skylights, while the interior face of the petals are lined with translucent white marble. During the day, the temple rests like a natural landform; geometric shadows inside change with the moving sun. At night, light emanates from the apertures between the structural petals and through the translucent material, creating an ethereal effect.
Local firm Limarí Lighting Design was charged with lighting the uniquely shaped building to showcase the transparency of the exterior while creating a warm, intimate interior for meditation and prayer. To celebrate the material palette of wood, marble, bronze, and glass, the team emphasized the placement and design of the illuminated features. To achieve the building’s glowing exterior, Limarí fitted custom bronze housings with 35W 2700K dimmable LEDs into the structural members that connect the windows with the upper portion of the marble panels.
Indirect 3W 2700K dimmable luminaires with an elliptical lens are placed behind seating areas to highlight the irregular form and materiality of the petals. This creates a voluminous effect—a spatial quality typical of houses of worship. Despite the 98-foot-high (30-meter-high) ceiling, the gathering areas have a more intimate feel due to the candle-like 75W halogen floor lamps located among the benches, one of two custom-designed decorative luminaries by the firm. The others are cylindrical, bronze 5.4W 2700K LED pendants that light the stairway and a reading area. These two decorative fixtures give the space a human scale and contribute to the overall warmth of the space.
Stunning. • The evenness of the illumination of the petals is impressive. • The lighting connects the building to the ground.
Project: Bahá’í House of Worship of South America, Santiago, Chile • Client: Asamblea Espiritual Nacional de los Bahá’ís de Chile • Architect: Hariri Pontarini Architects, Toronto • Lighting Designer: Limarí Lighting Design, Santiago, Chile • Lighting Team Members: Pascal Chautard, Cristina Fahrenkrog, Francisca Nicoletti, Raúl Osses, Felipe Osses, Magdalena Roa, Carolina Roese • Photographer: Justin Ford (this image) and Aryeh Kornfeld • Project Size: 26,000 square feet • Project Cost: $30 million • Lighting Cost: $135,000 • Watts per Square Foot: 0.606 • Code Compliance: Not Applicable • Manufacturers: DGA, Janmar, Lutron