Saturday 5 October 2013

La Sagrada Família: Exterior

La Sagrada Família, or to use its full name; La Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, is by far the most incredible building I have ever, or will ever be lucky enough to visit.
Originally begun in 1882 the Sagrada Família was a church on the outskirts of Barcelona with the grand ambition of replacing the Cathedral, located in Barri Gotic, as the focal point of faith in Barcelona. The original architect Francisco de Paula del Villar resigned after just one year, and his boots were filled by Antoni Gaudí, who replaced the Gothic revival designs with something altogether different. The museum below the Sagrada Família provides a detailed insight into Gaudi's architectural designs and how these developed with time, becoming less traditional and far more visionary, unique and other worldly.

The Sagrada Família has an organic quality which is unlike any other I have ever seen in a building. The entire vast structure appears to have erupted out of the earth, and is continuing to do so. The sheer scale of the structure is one which is simply impossible to absorb and digest. An eternity could be spent dwarfed in awe of the lofty towers protruding high into the sky, but not until you have journeyed to the top of one of these towers can you truly appreciate the grand scale on which everything at the Sagrada Família operates. Journeying 65 metres to the top of the Passion facade tower and walking the 400 spiraling steps back to earth was certainly a knee knocking experience, but an incredible one.

With an estimated completion date of 2026 (just in time for the centenary of Gaudi's death) the Church is a hive of activity. Watching the Sagrada Família grow before your eyes is a curious experience. This is by far the most impressive and complex construction project I have ever seen, and watching the construction workers and skilled craftsmen working tirelessly to complete this vast monument gives a glimpse into the past and how people watching the construction of monumental buildings such as Barcelona Cathedral, York Minster or The Notre Dame must have felt.

I urge anyone who has the opportunity to visit the Sagrada Família to do so, it is an experience you will never forget.

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