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La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

The Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia commonly known as the Sagrada Familia, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

Though construction of Sagrada Familia had commenced in 1882, Gaudi became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style-combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.

Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War-only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026-the centennial of Gaudi's death. The basilica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona-over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudi's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudi's death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed train could disturb its stability.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Describing Sagrada Familia, art Critic Rainer Zerbst said "it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art" and Paul Goldberger called it 'the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages'.

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia was the inspiration of a Catalan bookseller, Josep Maria Bocabella, founder of Asociacion Espiritual de Devotos de San Jose (Spiritual Association of Devotees of St. Joseph). After a visit to the Vatican in 1872, Bocabella returned from Italy with the intention of building a church inspired by that at Loreto. The crypt of the church, funded by donations, was begun 19 March 1882, on the festival of St. Joseph, to the design of the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, whose plan was for a Gothic revival church of a standard form. Antoni Gaudi began work on the project in 1883. On 18 March 1883 Villar retired from the project, and Gaudi assumed responsibility for its design, which he changed radically.

On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudi is said to have remarked, "My client is not in a hurry." When Gaudi died in 1926, the basilica was between 15 and 25 per cent complete. After Gaudi's death, work continued under the direction of Domenec Sugranes i Gras until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Parts of the unfinished basilica and Gaudi's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The present design is based on reconstructed versions of the lost plans as well as on modern adaptations. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluis Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work. The illumination was designed by Carles Buigas. The current director and son of Llu¨ªs Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. Mark Burry of New Zealand serves as Executive Architect and Researcher. Sculptures by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and the controversial Josep Subirachs decorate the fantastical faoades.

The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000 and the main tasks since then have been the construction of the transept vaults and apse. As of 2006, work concentrated on the crossing and supporting structure for the main tower of Jesus Christ as well as the southern enclosure of the central nave, which will become

Links: Official website of the Construction Board of La Sagrada Familia Foundation

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