The Story

The Sagrada Familia is a Cathedral situated in Barcelona and was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. Its construction began in 1883 and is slated for completion in 2026.

Gaudi finished work on the Central Nave, the Sacristy, and the Façade of Nativity. The plans of these three have been used to inspire further construction. The plan is in the form of a Latin cross- with a fairly understandable plan as Gaudi had anticipated that the construction period might surpass his lifetime. The Sagrada Familia consists of three facades- the Nativity Façade on the east, the Passion Façade to the west, and the Façade of Glory to the south, each of which represents an event or idea. The Nativity Façade is symbolic of the birth of Jesus, rife with natural figures, each symbolic of quality or element. The Passion Façade of the passion of Jesus and is minimalistic, consisting of bare uncarved stone and has a dramatic effect of chiaroscuro, a harsh contrast between darkness and light. Whereas the Glory Façade dedicated to his heavenly glory is destined to be the primary Façade, providing access to the central nave consisting of illuminated clouds mounted upon eight columns.

A classic example of a fusion between several architectural styles, including Gothic and Art Noveau, the monument rises to a height of a hundred and seventy-two meters and has a total of eighteen spires, each of which would represent a Christian figure. The primary materials for structural elements are volcanic rock, basalt, and granite, as well as copious amounts of sandstone and reinforced concrete for the roof of the nave. The lucarnes or skylights are built using glass and tiles and tinted glass is used in the arched windows. The columns are shaped like tree trunks so that they can support the weight of the roof structure and also give the feeling of wandering in a forest. There is a strong sense of light entering the interiors from the tinted lancet and rose windows, painting the interiors in various shades and tints. The interior is intricately carved and has an outstanding blend of geometric forms- a canvas of curvilinear shapes and forms. The high ceilings and long columns contribute to the sheer grandeur of the place and the light emerging from the perforations in the wall shape the spaces. The architrave of the interior spaces is heavily carved with floral motifs and has religious references. The sculptures in the interior have biblical inferences and are placed on high pedestals to instil a sense of heavenly might into the visitors.

In conclusion, the Sagrada Familia is a gravity-defying monument unprecedented in proportions and aesthetics, heavily inspired, and reflective of the passion of its master architect. The carved fabric of the structure gives it a fragile and fleeting appearance, but in all the decades-spanning its construction, it has proven to be a rigid and sturdy structure. The Sagrada Familia is indeed an elaborate and passionate love affair-between a building and its architect, entombed in the crypt, his artwork a marvellous addition to the physical world.