THE ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA (RAIC) recently announced the shortlist for the 2019 RAIC International Prize for socially transformative architecture. One Canadian firm—Hariri Pontarini Architects, of Toronto—achieved a spot on the shortlist of projects. A six-member jury chose a university building in Peru, an artists’ residence and cultural centre in Senegal, and a Baha’i Temple in Chile.
The biennial prize was founded in 2013 and is open to architects from anywhere in the world. “We see in these exceptional buildings how architecture can strengthen community, bring together diverse peoples, lift the spirit, and exist in harmony with the environment,” says RAIC President Michael Cox. “Each of these projects offers lessons that can be applied elsewhere, and we hope they will inspire architects around the world as they design for human well-being.”
Hariri Pontarini’s project – Baha’i Temple of South America – is designed to be a place of welcome and meaning for everyone. Its design has attracted more than 1.4 million visitors since opening in fall 2016. The temple is composed of nine cast-glass and marble wings, achieving a sense of weightless movement, light, and at the same time permanence. At the edge of the Andes, it was built to withstand a rugged climate and an earthquake zone. Its 14-year realization involved hundreds of local volunteers and a global effort, including fabrication in Canada and Germany, marble from a Portuguese quarry, and Chilean tradespeople.
The prize winner will be unveiled at a gala in Toronto in October.