Bahá’í Temple of South America, Chile

Bahá’í Temple of South America, Chile

PLACES: Best Interior Lighting Scheme – High Budget

Bahá’í Temple of South America

Santiago, Chile

Lighting Design:
Limarí Lighting Design, Chile

Asamblea Espiritual Bahá’í de Chile

HPA Architects, Canada

Main Lighting Suppliers:
DGA, Lutron, Janmar


The Bahá’í Temple for South America is the eighth and last temple built by the Bahá’í community in the world and is located on the foothills of the Andes, overlooking the city of Santiago.

The architectural project from HPA Architects was designed by Siamak Hariri as a singular object, a kind of flower of light composed by nine transparent petals. The building has a steel structure covered in the interior by a translucent white marble and in the exterior by a cast glass cladding.

During the day the building receives dynamic daylighting from the central oculus and from the nine vertical windows situated between the wings, as well as diffused light from the translucent wings.

The lighting design project had to fulfill two main goals: create an exterior scene that will show the transparency of the materials and show the temple as a light emitting element, on the other hand the interior lighting scenes had to generate a warm, monastic and intimate ambience favorable to meditation and prayer.

Lighting interior effects also had to enhance the amazing architecture elements, forms and materials: wood, marble, bronze, glass, without adding new elements to the pure predominant architectural elements. Location and design of the lighting tools was extremely important.

The only technical fittings that could be seen are located on the vertical bronze profiles that connect the windows to marble petals and have a custom-designed bronze housing, they are in charge of creating the exterior effect and lighting the top part of the nine petals.

The main interior lighting effect, which is an indirect light, is executed from the back of the benches from the mezzanine with very small elliptical distribution spotlights that also produce a grazing effect on the marble petals and highlight their complex shape and materiality.

The only two ‘visible’ luminaires are decorative and have been specially designed, the first one, a pendant that hangs from the marble petals, achieves the lighting of the stair and the ‘reading place’. The second one, a floor lamp resembling a candle, is located in between benches from the first floor, complementing the general indirect lighting effect and restoring the human scale in this 30-metre high building.

A lighting control system is key to adjust brightness and create different atmospheres according to each specific moment.