In Chile, a new house of worship breaks architectural boundaries--and stirs a new sense of community.


Leading a delegation of special guests from the House of Worship during a three-day dedication ceremony in October 2016 are (left to right) Minister Secretary General Nicolas Eyzaguirre, representing the President of Chile; representative of the Universal House of Justice Antonella Demonte; Mayor of Penalolen, Carolina Leitao; and Felipe Duhart, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Chile.


SANTIAGO--From an architectural point of view, the recently completed Baha'i House of Worship here is a stunning achievement, pushing both the aesthetic and technical frontiers for religious buildings in new directions.

Aesthetically speaking, it is visually unique: a winding, spiraling dome of glass and white marble that, in the words of one architectural reviewer, "resembles a glorious flower, its translucent glass petals contrasting with the mountains and merging with the cloudy sky."

Technically, the building required the development of entirely new methods for casting curved glass cladding and affixing it to a steel skeleton. For example, the builders turned to a computer program normally used to design aircraft to work out the precise shapes of the 10,161 cast glass elements and 8,001 marble pieces that went into the spiraling "wings," of the building.

Those assembled for the Temple's dedication here in October 2016 paid tribute to such achievements--and also took note of the building's significant spiritual and community-building aspirations.

Minister Secretary General Nicolas Eyzaguirre, who represented Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the dedication ceremonies, called it "a transcendental space that looks for unity and respect for all religious backgrounds."

"It is a Temple which makes our landscape a more beautiful one" he said. "It will become an icon and it will remind us how important it is to find the unity between the city and nature."

Claudio Orrego, governor of the Santiago metropolitan region, called the Temple a "huge gift" to the citizens of Chile and beyond.

"Today we see the beauty of its creation, together with all the divine and human forces that have made it possible," said Gov. Orrego. "Santiago will be different from now on because of this beautiful temple that has been given to us... It doesn't matter what religion we belong to, what creed we profess, our cities are full of the thirst for silence and to transcend."


Minister Eyzaguirre and Gov. Orrego...

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