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.
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