Siamak Hariri, a founding partner of Hariri Pontarini Architects, believes that architecture has the capacity to move people. Hariri strives to design buildings that stimulate an emotional response.
In 2003, there was an open call for designs for the first Bahá’í Temple in South America. The brief was simple: the temple needed to have a circular room with 9 entrances. Inspired by Baha’i writings, Hariri created a space that was open and welcoming to people of all faiths and backgrounds. He wanted to create a building that came alive with light. In a recent TED talk, Hariri stated that the crucial challenge was to define the sacred in the secular; to create a sacred space within this modern, secular world.
The temple has been 14 years in the making. The two layers of luminous veils are softly draped creating a beautiful exterior. However, Hariri believes that what it feels like on the inside is most important. The Bahá’í Temple is an intimate building where everyone is welcome to experience this sacred space. It recently won the 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).