Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, the spectacular Sagrada Familia church is considered one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Located in Barcelona, the project began in 1884 and is now the longest-running building project in Europe. Over the past 136 years, Gaudí’s incredible skills and vision have been pouring into the temple, yet completion is still much-anticipated. When will the Sagrada Familia be completed?
Although construction has accelerated since the 1980s and the temple is still dedicatedly being worked on, the original goal of completing the masterpiece on Gaudí’s 100th death anniversary (1926) wasnt achieved. This was due to a multitude of factors including civil wars, a lack of funding, and numerous design challenges that architects since Gaudí have encountered. As of 2021, it is estimated that the temple will be finished around the year 2026.
According to the Sagrada Familia’s official website, there are three main groups of works that must take place in order for completion: the stone sculptures, vaults, and stained glass windows. Stone sculptures are typically placed on top of the towers and walls, often statues of saints or Jesus Christ. The eight vaults – both inside and outside – are crafted of brick and concrete surrounded by the keystone system, which provides structure and stability. Lastly, stained glass windows are characterized by bright colors and impressive figures for decorative effect.
Due to the complexity of the project, it is a process requiring a large team of workers and also aided with the assistance of advanced technology. This includes laser scanning, which allows architects to analyze the surface, weight, and color of the building. In addition, 3D modelling and printing have allowed production of a model that reveals adjustments and modifications needed for the temple in order for it to match the original Gaudí’s original design. Even data analysis has helped identify any obstacles that may arise in the future.
Privately funded by donations, the Sagrada Familia will soon come to fruition. According to BBC News, declared World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1984, the total cost of the project could exceed €66 million by 2026. One hundred percent of the funds will go towards the completion of the temple, with €12.2 million allocated for rent and €36.8 million for construction work. As millions of people anxiously await, the Sagrada Familia’s church bells can finally be heard ringing.
Catalyst of the Design: Building with Nature
The design of the Sagrada Familia was a result of Gaudí’s remarkable understanding of nature and the principles of mathematics and geometry. By taking inspiration from divine organic forms such as the universe and its creatures, Gaudí was able to craft a vision that brings together fantasy, architecture, and engineering. This can be clearly seen with its immense green forest, which requires careful calculation of the path of sunlight. He used this effect to harmoniously divide the building and contribute reflections and color gradation.
Furthermore, Gaudí used a hyperbolic star structure to line up the columns and support the vaults. This ensures that the structure remains elongated and light instead of round or paralleled. To this day, the temple’s interior is lit up by sunlight coming through its curved apertures. As experts further analyze the temple, they discover more ancient weaving techniques used to join sheets of glass, reataining its geometric complexity. It goes to show how optimal Gaudi’s design truly is.
Last but not least, the façade depicts the overwhelming beauty of nature’s cycle of life. Representing the bible’s love story, it is divided into three layers – Nativity, Passion, and Glory. Following one after another, the main characters of the bible including Jesus, Mary, and the apostles are surrounded by symbols and leafy foliage to create an intricate spectacle. No matter which perspective you look from, the detailed hand-carved pieces appear to be coming to life.
The Last Piece of Gaudí’s Legacy
With the upcoming completion of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s intellectual works are sure to be remembered. As the pioneers of Catalan Modernisme and one of the most influential architects of all time, Gaudi’s influence is deeply ingrained in the city of Barcelona. From his extraordinary use of colors, organic shapes, and symmetry, Gaudi’s works can be spotted from miles away.
An example of this is Gaudi’s Park Guell, found in Barcelona’s Gracia district. Created from 1900 to 1914, shared with legendary artist Joan Miro, it marvellously incorporates stone, ceramic tiles, and foliage. This beloved park is one of numerous creations inspired by Gaudí, including Gaudi’s House Museum and Casa Batlló. With each work expressing the Catalan architect’s utmost passion and creatitvity, Gaudi’s legacy will go on.
The High Cost of Completion
The Sagrada Familia’s arduous task of completion is one costly undertaking. With people from all around the world stepping in to donate, saving the churches are goals that will be achieved sooner than expected. As of 2021, the Universal Church of the Sagrada Familia has raised an impressive €3.7 million euros ($4.53 million) in donations, an immense impact on the temple’s progress.
Even with such generous contributions from the masses, the temple is still expected to go over budget. To help with this, fundings and other offers from businesses and organizations, such as the Spanish government, have also been put in place. Although this is currently being successful, there will still be a high cost of completion for the Sagrada Familia.
For decades, the Sagrada Familia has been passing through stages of remarkable growth and renovations. With dedicated workers and advanced technology, completion of this iconic landmark will soon take place. Although the cost of completion is quite high, milliones of people have already chipped in to offer donations as well as other funds, which are boosting the project to its close end. As the iconic work of Gaudi’s unique design comes to life, the beauty and creativity that this temple brings can become an ode of Barcelona’s rich history.