Built in 1882, the Sagrada Familia has been an ongoing project for over 130 years. As the most visited monument in Spain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, some may be wondering why the construction has taken so long.
Funded solely by donations, most of the work to date has been completed by Antoni Gaudi’s team. This lack of permanent, professional workers has likely slowed the project down. There are now, however, around 120 professionals who are dedicated to the project’s completion.
The Sagrada Familia was designed according to Gaudi’s original vision using intricate stone work and sculpted figures. Using these traditional materials and methodology has added to the project’s enduring length. The timeframe has been further extended by the fact that the design of the actual building changes over time according to his vision.
In addition, the project has been stalled by a lack of funding. The donations it receives are insufficient to sustain an operation of such a magnitude, and any attempt to deviate from Gaudi’s original architecture has been met with staunch opposition.
The building process also has to be carefully monitored to prevent possible damage to the original structure. Seismological studies are conducted on a regular basis, followed by diversiﬁed calculations that ensure the stability of the cathedral and its structures.
Studies also have to be performed to examine the impact of the Sagrada Familia on the environment. Regulations have to be met to avoid any potential damage to the surrounding environment.
The combination of various factors, including Gaudi’s unique design, the lack of funding and professional workers, and the need to carefully monitor the structure, have all contributed to the delayed completion of the Sagrada Familia.
Although the project has faced difficulties in its long history, the government has been supportive of the project. The Plaça Catalunya Foundation was established in 2003 and has worked to raise funds to enable the completion of Gaudi’s masterpiece. The regional government of Catalonia has granted a total of €15 million in support of the project.
The Regional Government of Catalonia also has dedicated resources to monitoring and ensuring safety in addition to the funds given. An analysis of the surrounding areas, including air quality, noise, and other environmental factors, is conducted, and feedback and data collected from the local population is taken into consideration.
Alongside the government, an army of volunteers join the Sagrada Familia team every year in support of the monuments completion. From maintaining gardens to supporting restoration efforts, locals who are passionate about the project are an invaluable asset to the team.
The Sagrada Familia remains true to Gaudi’s original intention – to build a cathedral that merges architectural distinction with spiritual devotion. Every stone carved and every intricate detail is drawn from the blueprint in his spirit and will.
Gaudi was inspired by nature which can be seen in the buildings’ structure and design. The towers of the Sagrada Familia are believed to be inspired by the peaks of the mountains behind Gaudi’s childhood home. He himmself believed that the natural world was the expression of God.
The attention to detail and symbolism incorporated in the project is the result of the passionate creativity of its designer. While some may find the process of completing the Sagrada Familia arduous and time consuming, it has been a labor of love and reverence from start to future completion.
Time is a major factor in the length of the project. Much of the detail is painstakingly executed by hand, as traditional tools and techniques were used in the construction. Although technology can be used to accelerate the process, it is important to bear in mind the original designer’s vision. The intricate detail in each stone, alongside the aim of perfecting the building’s structure, could explain why some parts of the building take longer than others.
The complexity of the Sagrada Familia is unique in the world. In an age where projects of such magnitude can be completed in a much shorter time span, the 130-year duration of the Sagrada Familia’s construction is extensive. It too also raises questions about how long it should take to finish such a project in the future.
The international committee formed to choose the candidates for the project has consistently endorsed a set of specific criteria. Candidates must have had family members toil for at least 200 years in the same trade of architecture, coupled with a personal dedication to the Sagrada Familia. This suggests that the next chief architect is likely to be someone who inherits Gaudi’s passion.
The Sagrada Familia project is a unique one that must be treated with respect. While technological and industrial innovations could be employed on the site, it is important to stay true to the vision of its original designer, and to the commitment of the builders and volunteers who have worked together to bring this cultural treasure to life. With the commitment of the local population, the government, and the dedicated team on-site, supporters of the project can be cheer Gaudi’s legacy will finally be complete.