Bahá’í Temple of South America
WINNER OF THE 2019 CANADIAN ARCHITECT PHOTO AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Client: Hariri Pontarini Architects
Photographers Amanda Large and Younes Bounhar see their job as a two-phase process. As a baseline, they document built projects in a literal manner. But they also strive to translate the less tangible qualities of projects into photographic images. “It is not so much about how a project looks, but rather how it feels, how one experiences it,” says Large.
When photographing the Bahá’í Temple of South America, the duo was awed by the structure’s monumental scale. They felt that this quality was missing from many of the existing photographs, where the temple is dwarfed by a mountain range.
To communicate the Temple’s exceptionality, says Large, “we felt that is was critical to abstract the building from its surroundings.” They decided to photograph it at 9 am, about two hours after sunrise. The sun was still partially hidden behind the mountains, and its rays illuminated one side of the Temple. The side-lighting produced highlights on the edges of the petals that make up the structure. Meanwhile, the mountains and front of the Temple remained relatively dark.
A human figure, standing in one of the nine doorways, completes the scene, giving a sense of scale to the image.
Rami Bebawi :: This image creates a powerful ambiance—it’s so amazing. In a first glimpse, it’s as if we all felt an attachment to a photograph that captured the experience of a moment.
Joe Lobko :: The magic of an image can be that it wants you to know more, it draws you in, it excites your imagination. This image, and this building, certainly do that.
Ema Peter :: For me, this is a very impactful image. We have seen so many images of this building and this one shows a completely different perspective. The quality of light is spectacular—the side is lit perfectly. The silhouetted person that is so masterfully hidden in the shadow makes the image look like a real piece of art.
Cindy Wilson :: The subtlety in this photo allows the imagination to enter.