It’s been over 100 years since Antoni Gaudí started the construction of Barcelona’s most iconic monument, La Sagrada Família. It is one of the most visited monuments in the world and one of the most popular cultural attractions in Barcelona, visited by millions from all over the world. But with all the speculation around it, when is 1 La Sagrada Familia expected to be completed?
This monumental church was commissioned by local officials in 1883. Gaudí worked on the project for more than 40 years, devoting his entire life to the project, but he wasn’t able to finish it before his death in 1926. After his passing, the project was taken over by other architects and engineers, dedicated to bringing Gaudí’s dream to completion. The construction of the Sagrada Família started again in 1954 after a long and troubled pause.
The Church of the Sagrada Família has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2005 and has been the focus of research and archaeological studies in recent years, the most recent being with the support of the Ramon Llull University’s Department of Architecture and Heritage. The university even established a project called “Sagrada Família: A Monument for the Third Millennium” aimed at optimizing the progress of the construction.
Although the original estimate aimed for 2026, the latest estimate is calculated to be 2032. As of today, here is the breakdown of the construction that still needs to be undertaken:
- 8 spires
- 20.000 square meters of façade
- 800 meters of high towers
- 800 meters of underground structures
Currently, in 2021, one of the most impressive works of architecture and art in the history of mankind has reached a considerable stage of construction. The exterior of the Sagrada Família is currently three-quarters finished, with just the spires on its Nativity facade left to be added. It’s planned that the whole of the monumental basilica will be finished in two years, with embellishments added to its facades, making it a fully complete project.
It can be said that this work of art, although unfinished, is already one of the most spectacular works of architecture and engineering ever constructed. Some of Gaudí’s original ideas didn’t age well over the years, making it difficult to complete the church by 2026, but nevertheless the Sagrada Família has been showing a huge progress in the last few years.
The most difficult part of completing the project is the financing of the Sagrada Família. Apart from donations, tours and other funds (like grants, events and merchandising), there might still be a need to look for other ways to support the project in the coming year, making sure it will be completed with the quality and masterpiece status that Gaudí envisioned.
Maintenance and Preservation
Preserving the Sagrada Família for future generations is a key element of its planning. Proper maintenance of the monument is essential for its longevity and every project for the completion of the Sagrada Família includes preservation plans for the whole of the building, its artworks and façades. Despite its almost 200-year old architecture, the grand basilica of the Sagrada Família stands strong and beautiful, and through the preservation done with the utmost respect and care has managed to remain in excellent condition.
The materials used in the building are a big part of its preservation. Currently, it’s using the same type of limestone used in the original building. The masonry is also being done in a way that doesn’t compromise the structure or profile of the existing building, keeping it in its best shape.
In order to adapt the plans to the latest construction techniques, the current architects and engineers involved in the project have been using new technologies and systems to ensure the building’s long-term preservation. The use of a virtual platform to monitor the situation of the building from the construction site makes it easier to detect and diagnose any problems in the future.
The team has also been focusing on replicating elements from the Gaudí’s original plans, especially for the latest parts of the church. This effort to preserve and replicate the original ideas from Gaudí’s vision is the real key to completing and maintaining the beauty of the Sagrada Família for future generations.
Touring the Sagrada Família has been a key part of its preservation and maintenance process. Considering it to be a symbol of Catalan identity, Barcelona’s government has been in a steady effort to make the monument available to the public and promote its tourist potential. Some of the long-term plans of promoting the tourism sector involve improving public access to the site and its facilities.
In 2019, the Barcelona City Council created the Sagrada Família Access Plan, focused on setting the base for the development of a modern infrastructure around the monument and to improve accessibility, safety and enjoyment of the historic site for tourists, locals and residents. The plan includes the restoration of the stairway and the addition of multiple access points. In May 2020, the first access point opened, improving public access to the site.
Also considering the fact that the Sagrada Família is a popular destination, even in its unfinished state, the Church will benefit from the completion of the construction and the consequent improvement of public access. In 2020, it has been reported that the amount of visitors was quicker to recover after the first lockdowns, compared to other tourist attractions.
The completion of the Sagrada Família is not only a key element in viewing and experiencing the monument itself, but also in the development of the regional and national public access to the church, which would inevitably benefit from the end of the final cycles of construction.
The Sagrada Família project has suffered multiple delays, but with the current team working on it, the basilica is expected to be finished in 2032. There are currently two components that are what is driving the efforts for completion: Nativity Façade and the Central Nave.
The Nativity Façade is one of the most iconic parts of the construction and it is the last part in need of completion. There are still 8 spires to be added and some sculptural elements. According to the project plans, they are expecting to have it ready by 2025.
Apart from the sculptural aspect of the construction, the main structure of the Central Nave is currently being built as well. This is taking much longer since it involves complex structural art and ornamental elements. This part is aimed to be finished by 2032.
At the moment, there is still a few years to go until the completion of the Sagrada Família, but the team behind the project is still dedicated and working hard towards the final completion of the project.
Although for most of its lifetime the Sagrada Família has been an unfinished project, over the years its beauty and architecture has been recognized worldwide, gaining tremendous respect from experts and connoisseurs in the field of architecture and fine art.
In fact, one of the first people to recognize the significance of the Sagrada Família was Gaudí’s contemporary, the renowned sculptor and professor of fine arts Cecilio Pla, who believed it was “the most ambitious and grandiose project carried out in our country, the most audacious hope of any religious organization”.
In recent years, the Sagrada Família has been subject of various auctions, events and even festivals. The monument has become an endless source of inspiration for the art and culture communities, and the works the available for viewing for the public have been receiving a lot of positive feedback and appreciation.
As the construction moves on, multiple artists have focused on creating works related to its themes of design, structure and history. This has been a big boost for the project since it gave it an extra layer of recognition and engagement that helped its progress in big ways.
Once the construction of La Sagrada Família is in its final completion stage, not only it will be the most extraordinary religious monument constructed in modern times, but it will also be a symbol of Catalan culture and identity.
Not only it will be an inspiration for architects and structural engineers for centuries, but it will also be a source of national pride for any Spanish citizen. The completion of the project is highly anticipated by Barcelona’s locals and by the national government, and the monument is expected to become even more popular after its completion.
Despite the delays, the team behind the project is still optimistic and still pursuing Gaudí’s dream. With a new budget plan settled with Barcelona’s government in 2021, the project is estimated to be back on schedule and they are expecting it to finally be completed in 2032.