The Sagrada Familia | The Unfinished Church of Barcelona

Basílica de la Sagrada Família, known as the Sagrada Familia, is an unfinished temple located in Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia is one of the most known architectural structures in the world. This unique church is a work of famous architect Antoni Gaudi. Its construction still continues after almost 140 years thanks to private donations and ticket sales. There are several reasons for this delay such as the resignation of the first architect Villar, Gaudi’s death and the destruction of the original plans and models.

The Unfinished Church of Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia Church – Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia’s Architectural Style

The architectural style of the Sagrada Familia is a combination of modern architecture, late Gothic and art nouveau. In order to design this outstanding basilica Gaudi brought modern engineering techniques, the building elements of the late Gothic architecture and the organic forms of the art nouveau together. Gaudi thought that the true source of art comes from nature hence the great influence that comes from the natural patterns and forms can be observed on every part of the structure.

Understanding Gaudi

During the Spanish Civil War, the plans and models belonging to Gaudi burned in a fire. Due to this lost, the present design of the church is a combination of reconstructed versions of the original plans that were burned and modern adaptations. However, some critics think this is inconsiderate to Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia’s spirit and the church should remain incomplete in order to respect the project.

The Sagrada Familia Church
The Sagrada Familia Church

Exterior of The Sagrada Familia

In the original design, there are eighteen spires that represent Jesus Christ, the Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and the Twelve Apostles. Today, eight of them have been built and the construction of the others in progress. Because Gaudi believes that his creation should not compete with God’s, the height of the tallest tower is shorter than Montjuïc hill in Barcelona.

The facade detail of the Unfinished Church
The Nativity Facade

There are three main facades of the church of the Sagrada Familia: Nativity, Passion and Glory. The Nativity facade is dedicated to the birth of Jesus. Its construction started while Gaudi was still alive, therefore it has more direct influence on Gaudi than the others. Also, it is the first one that was completed. Its ornaments that show various scenes from nature are a reflection of Gaudi’s naturalistic style.

The Passion Facade
The Passion Facade

The Passion facade’s decorations are more simple and plain than the Nativity facade. It portrays scenes of Christ’s suffering and death. It reflects the sins of humans and Christ’s sacrifice.

The Glory Facade of Sagrada Familia
The Glory Facade

The construction of the Glory facade began in 2002 and it still continues. The largest of three symbolize the road to God. It has decorations that show varied images such as seven deadly sins, purgatory and hell.

Inside of The Sagrada Familia

The interior columns branche like a tree to support the load of the roof. This unique structure creates an open and bright space that feels like the inside of a sacred forest.

Inside of the Sagrada Familia
Inside of the Sagrada Familia

There are no straight lines or flat surfaces in the Sagrada Familia. Organic forms flow through the space and create a dynamism. This flow also joins to the snail shell-inspired staircase and it continues from the bottom up.

Interior Decorations of La Sagrada Familia
Interior Decorations

Ceramic, glass and mosaic ornaments are also a part of this movement. These detailed interior decorations portray various images of nature and scenes from the bible.

The Sagrada Familia’s Completion Date

Unfinished Church of Barcelona
Unfinished Church of Barcelona

The construction of the Sagrada Familia is planned to be finished in 2026 on Antoni Gaudi’s centenary of death. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic this date will be pushed.

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