Baha'i News -- First Baha'i House of Worship in South America


"Upon the completion of the Mother Temple of the West, the Guardian started a programme of constructing continental temples. The first among these were the Mashriqu'l-Adhkárs in Kampala, Sydney and Frankfurt, which were built in response to Ten Year Plan goals. The Universal House of Justice continued along these lines with the building of Temples in Panama City, Apia, and New Delhi. But this continental stage has yet to be completed: one more edifice remains to be built. It is with profound thankfulness and joy that we announce at this auspicious moment the decision to proceed with this last project. During the Five Year Plan, erection of the Mother Temple of South America in Santiago, Chile, will commence and thus fulfil a wish clearly expressed by Shoghi Effendi." 
(Message from the Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 158, 2001) 

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile invites the submission of design concepts for the Bahá'í Mashriqu'l-Adhkár to be erected near Santiago. Its construction will have a particular significance among the Bahá'í Houses of Worship of the world, as it will be the first to be erected in South America and will constitute its Mother Temple. 
The site on which this House of Worship will be built is located on the Pan-American Highway, about 35 kilometers southeast of the center of the city of Santiago. The property consists of 17.3 hectares (approximately 41 acres), which is almost all level, with good access from all sides. At present the majority of the land is agricultural, with vineyards. The parcel has abundant water of good quality. 

Santiago has a Mediterranean climate with temperatures averaging from 8°C (46°F) to 19.5°C (67°F), with a median temperature of 14°. It has an average rainfall of 375mm (15 in.), with a rainy winter from May through August and a hot, dry summer from December through March with temperatures around 30°C (88°F) in the daytime but cooling at night. Moderate temperatures prevail in the spring and autumn months. It is located on a plain at the foot of the Andes Mountains, with an elevation of 619.7 meters (1,700 feet) above sea level. The zone is prone to periodic earthquakes. 
The Temple is to be of a size that will provide an auditorium for worship seating five to six hundred people. As is the case with the other Bahá'í Temples, it should be nine-sided and surmounted by a dome. A height of 40 to 45 meters would seem adequate, but determination of this will relate to design. No rooms other than the auditorium for worship are to be included, except that space for heating, maintenance, toilets, etc., may be provided in a basement. A separate building for the caretaker could alternatively house some of these latter facilities. A wide variety of Chilean-made materials are available for construction, most notably cement products, high-quality steels, and native and laminated woods. Bricks and construction blocks are manufactured domestically, and many factories manufacture high-quality ceramics suitable for walls and floors. 
It is expected that designs submitted will include a plan, an elevation, and a section. A simple site plan can show means of approach and any suggested landscape features for surrounding gardens. Other drawing may be submitted in explanation of the design, together with a written description, if desired. The scale and type of drawings is left to the discretion of the architect or designer. 

In submitting a design, the author agrees to accept as final all decisions of the National Assembly of Chile, and agrees to waive any and all claims against that National Assembly or any other Bahá'í body. 
Designs are to be sent to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile, Casilla 3731, Santiago 1, Chile, by 30 November 2002. That National Assembly will consider the designs submitted and will make the decision as to selection. It is expected that the awarding of a contract for architectural services will be in accordance with established professional practice. In the event that none of the designs submitted is accepted, it will be so stated. It may be stipulated that the architect of a selected design shall associate with an organization equipped with facilities to handle the architectural and engineering work. 
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile
Santiago, Chile - July 2002 

©Copyright 2002, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile

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