LA SAGRADA FAMILIA: THE BUILDING “UNDER CONSTRUCTION”
La Sagrada Familia, the replica of a supersized sandcastle is one of the most striking works of Architect Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain.
The idea in Gaudi’s mind was that the buildings can be constructed like sculptures. This very idea resulted in the design of this beautiful Basilica.
138 YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION:
Yes! You heard it right.
The construction of this alluring structure started in 1882 and is still under progress. Gaudi devoted the last 44 years of his life to this project gave a marvelous design to this planet. He was sure that he won’t be alive to see his masterpiece getting completed. Therefore, he made detailed architectural drawings and scaled plaster models of different parts of the Church. Also, he planned the construction in different stages so that the architect from the different eras could add their own style easily.
Gaudi died in a road accident in 1926 when the Basilica was only quarterly complete. Since then, the construction of this Basilica is in progress under his footsteps.
In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the progress of the Church was interrupted. Gaudi’s original plaster models and the architectural drawings were also destroyed which slowed down the construction.
This world-renowned creation is likely to be finished by 2026, on the 100th death anniversary of Gaudi, under the supervision of Architect Mark Burry.
The construction of La Sagrada Familia will take even longer than the Egyptian Pyramids to complete, which were known for the longest construction to date.
DESIGN OF THIS BREATHING PIECE OF ARCHITECTURE:
Gaudi wanted to spread the history of the Catholic faith through this building that can be seen in his design. The building reveals the elements of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. He was very much inspired by nature so his idea was to eliminate straight lines and angles, as they were not natural appearing. He also believed the church will be constructed for the people and by the people.
PLAN AND STRUCTURE:
- Gaudi’s concept for this Basilica was inspired by his love for nature. The organic architecture of this massive structure makes it stand out among the other churches of the world.
- The Latin cross plan of the Basilica, typical of Gothic Cathedrals, still varies in several ways. The plan has an unusual feature- a covered passage forming a rectangle enclosing the church.
- It consists of a double stone dome that is meant to extend the building’s life.
- Most notable angular columns and hyperboloidal vaults have been developed to eliminate the need for flying buttresses. The load of the building is carried by the interior columns, making the facade, structure-free.
The spires, unlike other churches, are meant to have a specific meaning. There are a total of eighteen spires in the original design of Gaudi of which only eight were built till 2010. The smaller 12 spires represent the Twelve Disciples, in the ascending order of their height. The central spire of Jesus Christ will be crowned by a giant cross, making it the topmost part of the structure.
The two of these tower tops are accessible, where you can climb and enjoy the glory of the building’s architecture.
The Church’s design is meant to have three facades- the Nativity facade in the East, the Passion facade in the west and the Glory facade in the South.
- The three porticos are divided by two pillars on the side of the church, the bottom of which includes a tortoise and a turtle. These animals represent land and sea, the symbols of time and perfection of God’s creation
- The Nativity facade was the only one to be built directly under Guadi’s supervision. This is the most attractive and accessible facade which is meant to embody the structure. It features the birth of Christ through various carvings and sculptures. The faces on this are made using the death masks of the deceased people of Barcelona. This was his idea to make people, a part of this church.
- The Passion facade depicts the death of Christ. It is plain and simple compared to the Nativity facade. With fewer sculptures, it has various scenes depicting resurrection.
- The Glory facade is the largest among them all. Its construction began in 2002. It represents the way to God. It depicts scenes such as hell, purgatory, seven deadly sins, and the seven heavenly virtues.
The present design or the standing structure is the reconstructed version of the original design by Antoni Gaudi.
THE MAGIC SQUARE:
There is a 4×4 magic square in the Passion facade of Basilica. It consists of 16 numerical. It is said that the sum of numbers in each row or column is equal to the age of Christ when he was crucified, 33. Some say 33 explains to be a part of Gaudi’s freemason history. Gaudi left everyone while designing this secretive magic square, a part of the Church, which came up with different conspiracies.
The Church stands up to 170 meters, making it the tallest place of worship in Europe. The Architect’s thought behind this was that it should not exceed the height of the tallest hill of Barcelona, Montjuic. The idea originated because he believed that no structure should exceed God’s creations.
With the construction of La Sagrada Familia Gaudi became one of the pioneers in Spain to have used steel and concrete in the structure. Other than this, the stone is also used extensively in this majestic structure.
The type of materials used for the Basilica’s construction have huge differences as the structure continues to be built for over six generations.
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA INTERIOR:
The interiors of this church stand as striking as its exteriors. With a huge variety of colors and light, the decorative interior is full of life. As you step inside, you see the space no less than a kaleidoscope stone forest. The interior can also be seen depicting nature, with columns resembling trees and many hidden creatures, throughout the Basilica. So, let’s talk about the salient features inside the Basilica.
Exploring the Interiors:
- The most beautiful tree columns inside this church are not only meant to transfer the load but also results in the beautiful intersection of geometric forms. It gives a feeling of the forest rather than a Church.
- Bringing in the multi-colored rays of light, the stained glass windows help to glow up space.
- A circular window showers the focus on Christ with a single beam of sunlight.
- The iron railing for balconies and stairways are also rich with ornamentation.
- The mosaic on the roof reflects the moonlight turning it into a lighthouse which is meant to guide seamen back home.
- There is a tomb inside the Basilica where the dead body of the architect Antoni Gaudi was buried.
- The spires have 12 bells which we can hear from the inside of the Church giving us a pleasant feeling.
Once completed, ‘La Sagrada Familia en Barcelona’ is going to be the most marvelous creation. The beauty of this Basilica lies in its details. The intricacy, visible in every part of this church is what all the talks are about.
The structure has a glimpse of Gaudi’s vision to include nature and religion. With a style so bold, the building turns out to be the most astonishing structure in the World and a symbol for the entire city. There is already so much to see in this incomplete attractive creation; surely the final outcome will be worth the wait.