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Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Chile Architecture News - Oct 30, 2019 - 15:14   3211 views

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Canadian architecture practice Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America in Santiago, Chile has been awarded the 2019 RAIC International Prize. 

Organized by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the prize is given to architects - irrespective of nationality and location, for a building anywhere in the world - to raise the international stature of the RAIC and the Canadian architectural profession, and to encourage Canadian architects to aspire to international excellence.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

The winner was revealed on October 25, 2019, during an awards ceremony and gala at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, attended by over 260 members of the Canadian and international architecture community.

The Baha’i Temple of South America is designed to be a place of welcome and meaning for everyone. Its design aspires to commonality within diversity, and it has attracted over 1.4 million visitors since opening in 2016.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

"The result is timeless and inspiring, a building that uses a language of space and light, form and materials, to express an interpretation of Baha’i philosophy and teaching that becomes universally accessible as a shared spiritual and emotional experience," the jury said. 

The prize consists of a monetary award of CAD $100,000 and a sculpture designed by Canadian designer Wei Yew. It celebrates a single work of architecture that is judged to be transformative within its societal context and expressive of the humanistic values of justice, respect, equality, and inclusiveness. 

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Sebastián Wilson León

The Baha’i Temple of South America was selected by the six-member jury following site visits to each of the three shortlisted projects. In addition to the Baha’i Temple of South America, the finalists included: Edificio E, Lecture Building, University of Piura in Piura, Peru by Barclay & Crousse, of Lima, Peru and Thread: Artists’ Residency and Cultural Center in Sinthian, Senegal by Toshiko Mori Architect, of New York, USA.

Now in its third cycle, the biennial prize received submissions from 12 countries across six continents. The prize was established in 2013 by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama along with the RAIC and the RAIC Foundation and was originally called the Moriyama RAIC International Prize.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Hariri Pontarini Architects

The prize is open to all architects, irrespective of nationality and location, for a building anywhere in the world. The winner is selected in an open, juried competition.

"The architects resolve a challenging and prescriptive program for a new Baha’i Temple near Santiago with a powerful form that creates a new landmark — a jewel — in a dramatic natural setting," said the jury. 

"During the day, the striking form is animated by the variations of light and shade on the building’s softly turning surfaces. At night, it stands like a lantern, softly lit from within."

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

The temple’s nine gracefully torqued wings, bound to an oculus at the top, are made of an outer layer of cast-glass panels and an interior layer of translucent marble from Portugal. The invention of this new material – cast-glass cladding – took four years of experimentation and collaboration with a Canadian glass artisan. 

The interior spaces of the temple are designed to invite people to come together and sit in quiet contemplation. An alcoved mezzanine offers a space to seek solitude while remaining connected with the community below.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

The building holds an important place in the Chilean community, hosting community clubs, youth outreach programs, and children’s activities in partnership with public schools.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Hariri Pontarini Architects

"At the heart of this building there is a belief and an aspiration: that even now, in the fractured 21st-century, we can respond to a human yearning to come together, to connect to one another, and to something that moves the spirit," the architects wrote in their submission.

"The arced lines of the supple wooden benches invite people to come together, not as part of a congregation, but to congregate; to sit next to one another in quiet contemplation, sharing in the communal act of being," they wrote.

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Guy Wenborne

"It was commissioned by the Bahá‘í House of Justice and is the eighth and final continental temple for the Bahá‘í Faith. But, central to its brief and its design is that it be a place of welcome, community, and meaning for everyone."

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Sebastián Wilson León

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Hariri Pontarini Architects

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © doublespace photography

Hariri Pontarini Architects' Baha’i Temple of South America wins 2019 RAIC International Prize

Image © Andrés Silva

The jury for the 2019 RAIC International Prize consists of: Anne Carrier, Stephen Hodder, Barry Johns, Eva Matsuzaki, Diarmuid Nash, Gilles Saucier. David Covo, FRAIC, Associate Professor of Architecture at McGill University, served as Professional Advisor to the jury.

In addition to the main CAD $100,000 prize, three scholarships of CAD $5,000 were also awarded to students of Canadian schools of architecture on the basis of a written essay on the topic of ‘the moment when they decided to become an architect.’ The winners are Laure Nolte, Dalhousie University, Lucie Palombi, University of Montreal, and Odudu Umoessien, University of Manitoba.

Top image © doublespace photography

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