Building Name – Lotus Temple
Location – New Delhi, India
Architect – Fariborz Shaba (Iranian Architect)
Contractor – ECC Construction Group of Larsen & Toubro Limited
Structural Eng – Flint and Neill (UK)
Year of Start – 1976
Year of End – 13 November 1986
- All Bahá’í Houses of Worship, including the Lotus Temple, share certain architectural elements, some of which are specified by Bahá’í scripture. `Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stipulated that an essential architectural character of a House of Worship is a nine sided circular shape. While all current Bahá’í Houses of Worship have a dome.Bahá’í scripture also states that no pictures, statues or images be displayed within the House of Worship and no pulpits or altars be incorporated as an architectural feature
- The Lotus temple is one of eight Bahá’í House of Worship facilities in the world and has welcomed over 70 million visitors since its completion, making it one of the most frequented architectural landmarks in the world.
- From a denominational standpoint, the Lotus temple is open to all practitioners regardless of religious affiliation and functions more as a gathering place of worship to interested visitors.
- In keeping with Bahá’í scripture, the Lotus temple is organized as a nine-sided circular structure that is comprised of twenty-seven “leaves” (marble-clad free-standing concrete slabs), organized in groups of three on each of the temple’s nine sides with height of slightly over 40 metres and a capacity of 2,500 people.
- The aforementioned “leaves” are integral to the organization of the space and are classified into three categories: entrance leaves, outer leaves, and inner leaves.
- The entrance leaves (nine in total), demarcate the entrance on each of the nine sides of the complex. The outer leaves serves as the roof to the ancillary spaces, complemented by the inners leaves which form the main worship space. These inner leaves approach, but do not meet at the tip of the worship space and are capped with a dramatic glass and steel skylight.
- The temple is constructed primarily of concrete and clad in Grecian marble, resulting in the Lotus Temple’s pristine white exterior while the interior of the structure is revealed in true Expressionist fashion, with the precast ribbed roof exposed in the worship spaces.
- The temple complex consists of the main house of worship; the ancillary block which houses the reception centre, the library and the administrative building; and the restrooms block.
- Funded almost entirely by private donations, the structure is sited on a magnificent 26-acre landscape including native vegation and a series of nine ponds surrounding the temple.
- The major part of the funds needed to buy this land was donated by Ardishír Rustampúr of Hyderabad, Sindh, who gave his entire life savings for this purpose in 1953. A portion of the construction budget was saved and used to build a greenhouse to study indigenous plants and flowers that would be appropriate for use on the site.
- Of the temple’s total electricity use of 500 kilowatts (KW), 120KW is provided by solar power generated by the building. This saves the temple 120,000 rupees per month. It is the first temple in Delhi to use solar power.
- Appropriately, the Lotus Temple and Sahba have been the recipient of multiple international design awards, included an award in excellence from the Instituation of Structural Engineers (1987), a special citation from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (1988), designation as one of 100 canonical works by the Architectural Society of China (2000), and an architect award from the GlobArt Academy in Vienna (2000).