Contemporary Architecture

Lotus Temple, New Delhi – Fariburz Sabha

About the Project:

  • Location: New Delhi
  • Total Site area: 24 acres
  • Climate: Tropical with great variations in temperature
  • Building Type: Worship Place
  • Architect : Fariburz Sabha
  • Time of Construction: 1979-1986
  • Cost of Project: Rs 10 000 000

Design Challenges:

  • Generation of form
  • Engineering Challenge
  • Climatic Challenge
  • Bahai Faith
  • Financial restriction

Bahai Temples:

  • Nine sides
  • Nine entrances
  • Dome
  • Walk ways and Gardens
  • Design should relate culture and environment


  • Form plays the major role
  • Light and Water are the only elements of ornamentation

Light in interiors

  • The whole superstructure is designed to function as a skylight.
  •  The interior dome is spherical and patterned after the innermost portion of the lotus flower. Light enters the hall in the same way as it passes through the inner folds of the lotus petals.
  • The central bud is held by nine open petals, each of which functions as a skylight.
  •  The interior dome, therefore, is like a bud consisting of 27 petals, and light filters through these inner folds and is diffused throughout the hall.

Need for Passive Cooling Techniques:

  • The climate in Delhi is very hot for several months of the year, and the degree of humidity varies,
  • It seemed as though the only solution for the ventilation problem would be air-conditioning
  • But it requires involves large amount of energy to maintain it . For a temple in India it is not favorable

Cooling method adopted:

  • Building as a chimney
  • The central hall of the temple is designed to function as a chimney, with openings at top and bottom (stack affect) This ensures a constant drought  of cool air to pass over the pools in basement and hall
  • Cool air  (heavy) is drawn from the bottom openings and hot air (light) is emitted out from the top
  • This process is reversed in humid days
  • The natural slope of land is used in creation of certain large basement at the level of pools . The floor of auditorium is lowered by five steps so that they act as lovers for cool air entering
  • Two sets of exhaust fans complement this system .
  • The first of dome cools the concrete shell and prevents transference of heat
  • The second set funnels air from the auditorium to the cold basement for cooling and recycles it back.


  • Problem of glare
  • Problem of acoustics
  • Undesired identity


  • First Honour award from the Interfaith Forum on Religious Art and Architecture, Affiliate of the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C., in 1987
  • Special award from the Institution of Structural Engineers of the United Kingdom in 1987
  • The Paul Waterbury Outdoor Lighting Design Award-Special Citation, from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America in 1988
  • Recognition from the American Concrete Institute as one of the finest concrete structures of the world in 1990
  • The GlobArt Academy 2000 award for “promoting the unity and harmony of people of all nations, religions and social strata, to an extent unsurpassed by any other architectural monument worldwide”

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3 thoughts on “Lotus Temple, New Delhi – Fariburz Sabha”

  1. Vivekvedic Architecture are the one of the Architects with an tradition and religious works. We design all our religious structures in accordance to ancient Indian Temple Vastushastra. We are driven mostly by interest, our charges will be very nominal.


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