- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 09 May 2017
The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India is an iconic building with a flower-like 'lotus' structure. It was the last of seven major Bahai's temples built around the world and became the mother temple of the Indian subcontinent.
The design was drawn from the essential architectural characters of the Baha’i scripture, inspired by the lotus flower which has long been a unifying symbol in India’s religions.
Architect Fairborz Sahba’s Expressionist lotus flower design had to be converted into definable geometrical shapes such as spheres, cylinders, toroids and cones to be constructed. These shapes were then expressed as mathematical equations, which could be used as a basis for structural analysis and engineering drawings. The resulting geometry was so complex that it took the designers more than two and a half years to complete the detailed drawings.
The concrete frame and precast concrete ribbed roof incorporate 27 white, marble-clad ‘petals’ arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, surrounded by nine pools of water. It has nine doors that open onto a central hall which can accommodate 2,500 people.
The lotus is ‘open’ at the top, where a glass and steel roof at the level of the radial beams provides protection from rain and allows natural light into the centre. The building sits within a 26 acre site.
Since opening in 1986, the temple has won a number of architectural and design awards, and has become one of the world’s most popular buildings, attracting 8,000 to 10,000 people a day.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural styles.
- Building of the week series.
- Calakmul Corporate Building, Mexico.
- Cathedral of Brasilia.
- Dancing House, Prague.
- Dunmore Pineapple.
- Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
- Habitat 67.
- Heddal stave church, Norway.
- Luxor Las Vegas.
- Mahabat Maqbara, India.
- Mimetic architecture.
- Robot Building, Bangkok.
- Rose Museum.
- Sagrada Familia.
- St Basil’s Cathedral.
- Tallest buildings in the world.
- The Gherkin.
- Unusual building design of the week.
- Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir.
- Wedding Palace, Turkmenistan.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Do you know your Rococo from your De Stijl, your Gothic from your Post-modernist?
May outlines a new funding strategy for housing associations and says the 'stigma' of social housing needs to end.
RIBA launches a consultation on a new Plan of Work for Fire Safety.
This article offers some basic rules to follow when writing your next specification.
The iconic Mackintosh Building will definitely be rebuilt, board chairwoman confirms.
The machinery used to fashion stone has changed dramatically - and so have the products.
This type of pile provides support to the building, as well as acting as a heat source and a heat sink.
Why investors are adopting the SDGs and why civil engineering could be crucial for delivering them.
Read about all the winners from the London ceremony of CIAT's 2018 Architectural Technology Awards.
How do you find the right stone to conserve historic buildings?
Appointment agreements often include a ‘scope of services’ setting out the consultant's performance on a project.