When the conversation is about the most beautifully constructed buildings (In India), What strikes your mind?
As we all know India is no less than any other leading country in terms of architecture and design. We also share one of our epic monuments as the seven wonders of the world (Taj Mahal).
No no, I ain’t going to talk about Taj Mahal in this article, for now it’s the Lotus Temple.
Lotus temple: Architectural style, Construction and About the Architect.
Have you ever seen Lotus temple? Obviously you must have, if not in reality, then in pictures (just like me). Isn’t that place just Wow. The design of a Lotus flower turned to the design of a building, just like an emotion turned to a structural reality. And that is what it’s architectural style all about.
The modern architecture comprises of three dominant styles i.e, International style, Expressionist, and Constructivist Architecture. In this article the discussion revolves around ‘Expressionist architecture’.
Expressionist architecture- The style of architecture that works on bringing an emotion or a dream to reality, which is basically derived by natural themes influencing mankind. Inspired by expressionist art that originated in Northern Europe in the beginning of the 20th century, expressionist architecture works on presenting the world through subjective perception often by distorting or exaggerating the objective reality.
The materials used for buildings in this kind of architecture include bricks, steel and most importantly glass, all these materials are said to be having a poetic expression and contributive in unifying the buildings as a monolithic design. Paul scheerbart ‘who was a German author of speculative fiction, literature and drawings also associated with expressionist architecture, says in his inscriptions from the Werkbund Glass Pavillion “Colored glass destroys hatred” “Glass brings us a new era, buildings in bricks only does us harm.”
To define this architecture is not so easy as every architect has a different view of abstraction, every expressionist building stands for an individual statement by its creator. This type of buildings stands out from the other structures in their surroundings as the entire concept is to evoke inner feelings and extreme emotions which is totally different than the idea of other forms of architecture.
The idea of Lotus temple was composed by Architect ‘Fariborz Sahba’ from the design of a Lotus flower that is considered sacred by most Indians. The design has been focused to reflect simplicity, clarity and freshness of the Baháʼí faith. It also stands as a symbol of Unity of India.
The temple spreads across 26 acres of land, built with white marbles from the Penteli mountains in Greece. The 27 marble petals are organized in clusters of three to form a nine sided circular shape as intended in the Baháʼí scripture. All the nine entrances open to a central hall of 40m of height. The building can accommodate 2500 people altogether.
The nine pool of waters located around the petals adds up to its beauty which looks spectacular when illuminated at night, giving it an impression of a half bloomed lotus in water.
Also known as the Baháʼí house of worship, The Lotus temple is a modern architecture excellence in India and also one of the most visited religious buildings in the world. To bring this architecture thought into construction the design of the Lotus flower had to be converted into appropriate geometrical shapes like spheres, cylinders, toroids and cones. These shapes were then expressed as mathematical equations which could be used as basis for structural analysis and engineering drawings. The final and detailed drawing was completed in more than two and a half years due to the complexity caused by the geometry design.
The lotus temple being an architectural amazement has been serving as one of the most prominent buildings in the world attracting an average of 10 thousand people daily making it approximately 4 million in a year since its opening in 1986.
Brief about the Architect:
Little did we know that this outstanding idea of building something out of an imagination inspired by the beauty around, was brought by Iranian-American Architect ‘Fariborz Sahba’ who presently resides in Canada and follows Baháʼí faith. He completed his masters from School of Fine Arts in Tehran University.