Sacred Geometry: Proposal for a Baha'i Temple in PNG with Caroline O'Donnell / CODA and JWK Architects
Baha'i Temples throughout the world are required to be nine-sided and to have a dome-like interior. This proposal for a Baha'i Temple in Papua New Guinea takes its cue from the historic lineage of Baha'i temples and adapts the template set by these structures in order to respond to nature's cycles and the path of the sun across the sky; its forms touch on the gentle shapes of local architecture and their angular profiles --shapes that were developed through daily use and need over many years.
A set of nine steel-reinforced concrete ribs adjust in depth to provide shade to a transparent skin of glass. The glazing itself has an outer and an inner layer of screens that moderate and control light and shade. At each of the nine entries, operable windows allow air to circulate in and escape through the oculus. At times, sunlight penetrates directly through the oculus casting the shadow of the Baha'i symbol onto the floor (the ceiling symbol is a requirement of the temple).
The temple is shaped to be naturally ventilated and to maintain a moderate temperature within its inner sanctum. A lightly woven lattice, made from local materials and construction techniques, forms an inner dome over this space, lowering the ceiling height and providing for a more intimate enclosure. The temple's orientation follows the angle of the sun diffusing light in a carefully orchestrated manner.
Seating is generally arranged to focus on a single speaker, but can be re-arranged to correspond to different events and programs.
The view of the temple will be that of an undulating weave of form and light and a dome that has responded to nature.