Read, Write, Run, Roam

The making of the Sagrada Familia


Here’s the recipe for the Basilica of the Sagrada Família:

• One religious, genius architect/engineer
• A passel of Easter egg colors
• One teaspoon psychedelic visions

Stir with thousands of construction workers, sculptors, and artists. Bake for approximately 143 years. Yields over 1.5 million visitors a year.

If you’d like, you can add a sprinkle of controversy: does the Sagrada Família reflect Gaudi’s original design? After all, most of his plans were destroyed in 1938, 12 years after Gaudi died from being hit by a streetcar. Look both ways, folks.

A former Mayor of Barcelona suggested that the temple stop construction when people “were no longer sure that this was exactly what [Gaudi] wanted.” But how could one know that? Fortunately, the construction goes on.  There is some sense of continuity: the current architect, Jordi Bonet, is the son of another architect that assisted Gaudi. How very Gabriel Garcia Marquez, no?

One thing is for sure: Gaudi designed the Sagrada Família to shock and awe the senses, and the Basilica does exactly that. The skyline is unique: high spires with delicate details and mosaic fruit.  Yep, fruit.

Grapes and...wheat? Corn? Bananas? Not sure.

Inside, the church seems to be divided into halves. One is relatively white and serene,

while the side facing the altar is swimming in bright colors with modern and natural symbolism. Gaudi once said he wanted the inside of the church to look like a forest; the light and color certainly give that impression.

It’s hard to believe that after 128 years, the Sagrada Família is just past the midpoint of its construction. It’s estimated that work will be completed in 2026, on the centennial of Gaudi’s death. But construction deadlines have a way of slipping, so feel free to see this masterpiece in action. Even Gaudi knew that the Sagrada Família would be built over several generations.  According to records, he felt that “The work of the Sagrada Família progresses slowly because [God] is in no great hurry.” I’m in no hurry either, if this is the result. Besides, the ingredients are awfully hard to find.

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2 responses

  1. Serbian expat in Canada

    Sagrada Familia is one amazing church. I visited in 1998 and your pictures show just how much progress has happened on the church building since. It is a beautiful place.

    February 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

  2. I was there in ’97 and am amazed at the progress as well! I hope I can get back there in another 10 years and watch the progress continue. And I think Barcelona is an even better city now than it was back then.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

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