My Experience Seeing Gaudí’s Sagrada Família in Person (Barcelona, Spain)

By April 30, 2013Architecture

Last year I took a trip to Europe and saw the magnificent Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. The Sagrada Família is a famous Roman Catholic Church designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí 1883. Tragically, the Sagrada Família was Gaudí’s last project and remained incomplete. He passed away while the church was only partially constructed. The project remained incomplete for almost a quarter of a century (due to the Spanish Civil War). Since 1950, the church has been slowly developed through private funding. This massive project is only anticipated to finish by 2026 (a century after Gaudí’s death). One might think this is far too long for a building to remain unfinished, but after seeing it I can safely say the building is a work of art. Even if it takes two centuries, the Sagrada Família has been worth every minute. It’s an architectural masterpiece.

“My client is not in a hurry,” Antoni Gaudí used to say. The pious architect was speaking of God, explaining why the Roman Catholic Sagrada Família church was taking so long to complete. Nearly a century later it remains a work in progress—a dream of spires and ornate facades rising hundreds of feet above downtown Barcelona, drawing the eyes (and euros) of some two million visitors a year. This November Pope Benedict XVI consecrated it as a basilica. A final completion date of 2026 appears likely. And if history begets history, the time is ripe to reappraise Gaudí’s epic endeavor—and the prescient ideas behind it.” – National Geographic

Seeing this architectural marvel in person is way more inspiring than you could ever imagine from looking at pictures. Walking through the open space and seeing the intricate details reminds me of why I was interested in architecture in the first place. One of my favorite aspects of the design is its connection with nature. The outside looks like it is made of sand. Inside, the giant columns are reminiscent of tree trunks. This comes as no surprise when reading about the architect. Gaudí was inspired by nature, religion, and architecture as an art. I have come to respect the work of Gaudí and will always remember my experience exploring the Sagrada Família cathedral. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the building progress toward completion.

If you ever have the chance, go see the Sagrada Família. You won’t regret it. Here are some snapshots from my visit:

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