5 Beautiful Places of Worship

5 Beautiful Places of Worship

Spiritual sanctuaries around the world that create modern spaces of worship for various faiths. (See more places of worship here.)


1 Synagogue and Community Center C.I.S., in Santiago, Chile
Designed by the team of JBA with Gabriel Bendersky and Richard von Moltke, this modern synagogue consists of several volumes, emerged and hidden. The main worship building rests over a reflecting pool, with an 800-seat synagogue and a smaller one for daily prayer. Clad in wood and orientated toward Jerusalem, these volumes are wrapped in a third volume: a concrete shell. There is also a volume for cultural and community activities.



Wong Dai Sin Temple, in Toronto
Shim Sutcliffe designed this Taoist temple is phenomenal in form, with Corten cladding the sides and giant louvers of its cantilevered volume. The building is not only a bold place of worship, but also a triumph against the local NIMBYism.




3 Sancaklar Mosque, in Istanbul
Composed of light grey stone and concrete, this terraced mosque with a cave-like prayer hall under a topographic roof was designed by leading Turkish firm Emre Arolat Architects. Sunken into the ground – its unadorned minaret rising above – the mosque is an outstanding example of building with the landscape.



4 Bahá’í Temple, in Santiago, Chile
Featured in our March / April 2016 issue, the sublime Bahá’í Temple is nearing completion in Chile. Designed by Toronto’s Hariri Pontarini, the building is remarkable for its petal-like sails, made of white marble and with glass panels – each uniquely cast.  As writer Noah Richler explains, “The sails converge above a single open space and mezzanine at an apex of 2.7 metres wide, where the Bahá’í symbol – ‘the greatest name’ – hangs beneath a clear glass oculus. In all of these elements, light is of the essence.”




5 Ribbon Chapel, in Onomichi, Hiroshima
Hiroshi Nakamura designed this delightfully looping building located in a luxury resort, and conceived as two intertwining spiral staircases clad in wood panels painted in white and titanium alloy. Mainly used for weddings, it allows bride and groom to climb the separate 160-metre staircases and meet at the top, then descend together as one.

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