La Sagrada Família has been built on dreams since 1882. That’s when construction began on what will be the world’s tallest church. Antoni Gaudí, the master architect, was a patient man. He was not in a rush to see the completion of his masterpiece. In his mind, his customer was God, and He had all the time in the world. It’s a good attitude to have, because a couple of wars, lack of funding and arson have prolonged this massive project.
Then there is current public opinion. At least from our Barcelona hosts, we’ve heard the continued efforts are a bit of overkill. Come on already, they’ve been working on it for over a hundred years!
Today there are deadlines. The goal is to finish by 2026, the 100th anniversary Antoni Gaudí’s accidental death. He was struck by a tram in the streets of Barcelona. At his passing, the church was less than 10% complete (my guess.)
The construction is no longer led by a devoutly religious architect, but by dedicated professionals who must be highly advanced structural engineers.
Gaudi’s designs are based on complex forms found in nature. I don’t think there were even words in 1886 to describe these structures: helicoids, hyperboloids and hyperbolic paraboloids. Those words make me want to run! But, I have a few math geeks in my life, so wonder if they are looking up those formulas, or perhaps already know them!?? Any way, I did look them up – now they remind me of Homer Simpson in the 4th dimension. . .
This sort of construction also requires some serious thrill seeker-contractors. Woody got ill just watching this fellow.
We met some Australian tourists who were able to climb up one of these towers (approx. 25 stories). They reported unforeseen, serious vertigo. “It would’ve been so easy to just tip off the edge”, they reported. When they made it down the steps, one made a dash to the restroom, the other had their head between their legs to catch their breath.
Those who take against the Sagrada Família are probably too close to it. It’s difficult to see beyond the dripping “icing”, the seemingly arbitrary forms, the termite-like mounds, or the monstrosity of it. Even Salvador Dalí spoke of its “terrifying and edible beauty.” Of all people to speak of terrible & edible beauty! These men were contemporaries, by the way, and I think they must have borrowed from each other.
Nature Never Goes Out of Style
Gaudí’s work was always inspired by nature. He experienced an intimate relationship with the natural world, appreciated its curved, sinewy lines. Much of the materials he used were locally sourced elements (granted, we are talking about a very small portion of the project.) We have visited a lot of churches on this tour, but have you ever seen one that takes your through a forest, like this?
In conclusion, I’d like to share a photo compilation of more Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família, as well as other works in the Barcelona area. I think you’ll see the connection this man had incorporating the natural world with architecture. I find it pleasing.