Gaudí’s Obsession

The first sight I wanted to see once Jorge left was Sagrada Família so we went first thing on Monday.

A little background from Wikipedia:

Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.

Gaudí devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026—the centennial of Gaudí’s death. The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona—over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona’s cathedral, over Gaudí’s design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí’s death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain’s high-speed train could disturb its stability.

First, let me say that whether or not you are religious, whether or not you are one for visiting churches, whether or not you are an appreciator of architecture, this is one site that unequivocally lives up to the hype. It’s simply a beautiful space, and we were awed by it and felt truly peaceful when we were there. When this is finished, it will be one of the wonders of the world, and we were marveling that by the time it was done we’d probably be coming back with teenage children!

Gaudí designed the interior to mimic wandering through a forest grove (literally using examples from nature as the inspiration for his forms), and he succeeded fantastically. We immediately felt like we were looking up at enormous tree trunks and not stone columns, even before we read of Gaudí’s intent for the space – it was accessible to every person who visited, and that is a rare and beautiful thing. After we’d examined every part of the interior, we went downstairs into the museum to view the model shop for the ongoing construction and some of Gaudí’s original plans for the church (and his crypt in that last photo). It was a great visit, and I am so glad that it was as wonderful as I had imagined because it was one of the places I was most looking forward to seeing.

In short, GO HERE.

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