Basílica de la Sagrada Família to release final construction timeline in 2024

Antoni Gaudí was a genius so far ahead of his time, that contemporaries often boxed him into the crude binary spectrum of madness and unconstrained enlightenment.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família – Passion Façade • Image: Andrew Yi

While Basílica de la Sagrada Família is the focus of this post, it's Antoni Gaudí's vision, work, and prescient foresight to allow future craftsmen like Chief Sculptor Etsuru Sotoo the freedom necessary to execute an open-ended project that has continued for more than 140 years since beginning construction in 1882.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família – Nativity Facade • Image: Andrew Yi

The latitudes of freedom are observed in the The Charity, Hope and Faith Hallways of the Nativity Façade, where a young Etsuru Sotoo began his lifelong devotion to understanding Antoni Gaudí while cutting stone to the beat of a dynamically static design set 27 years before Sotoo's birth in 1953. Etsuru Sotoo goes so far as to admit "Well… I must confess that my conversion to — Catholicism — was just a way for me to know Gaudí."

Prior to 2020, Sagrada Família was within the fiscal black due to tourism and on schedule to meet it's projected construction completion in 2026, timed to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of Antoni Gaudí's death, however pandemic put tourism on hold, leading to a lack of visitors which has delayed the project by constricting funds and resources.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família – Interior • Image: Andrew Yi

While the construction has just begun to ramp back up again, the next projected completion date is scheduled to be announced sometime in 2024, granting Mark's wish that "they keep working on Sagrada Familia for as long as intelligent lifeforms exist on Earth" for just a bit longer.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família – Interior • Image: Andrew Yi
  • There are too many fascinating details to list out in this post, but some worthy mentions are:
    • Antoni Gaudí was never paid for his work on Sagrada Família
    • Antoni Gaudí choose the 5 aisle design over the 3 aisle design common in Gothic architecture, which forced Gaudí to create his radical string and weights method to allow the space to match Gaudí's view
    • Antoni Gaudí used nature to guide his designs, leading to the column design that constantly shifts from one polygon at the base to a fractal/3D tessellation style support structure mimicking a favorite tree that Gaudí studied for inspiration
    • In the last years of his life, Antoni Gaudí dedicated so much of his life to setting down the design details of Sagrada Família for future craftsmen, that he neglected his personal appearance
      • This neglect led to his death after being struck by a tram at the age of 73, slowly bleeding out on a Barcelona street, only to be taken to a hospital and given the minimum treatment because no one knew that here lay their greatest most beloved architect, mistaken for a homeless person and treated thusly
      • By the time Antoni Gaudí was identified, it was too late. The nation collectively mourned Gaudí's death two days later after the doctors exhausted every option they could belatedly provide
    • Sagrada Família has been funded exclusively by donations, which has led to multiple shortages of materials and laborer's throughout the years
      • These shortages can most easily be seen by the material choice used for The Bell Towers of the Passion Façade where remnants from other construction projects, and even stone scavenged from other buildings in Catalonia like the Olympic Stadium expansion project were used to keep the project moving forward after exhausting the local sandstone supply
    • The stained glass windows were designed by Antoni Gaudí to work in conjunction with the orientation of the Sagrada Família in relation to the sun
      • Come at the optimal time, and the whole interior gets flooded with colored light that reflects Antoni Gaudí's vision of the sublime
    • While every detail of the Sagrada Família is as true as possible to Antoni Gaudí's design, craftsmen work with greater latitudes of freedom due to the tragic loss of Gaudí's original models, references and sketches destroyed by anarchists' "spiritual opium" fueled reign of destruction during the Spanish Civil War