Is La Sagrada Familia Finished?

What is La Sagrada Familia?

La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Temple in Barcelona by the design of architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. Over 140 years since it was first started in 1882, there is still construction going on to finalize these plans. Since it was started, there have been nine different architects who have worked on La Sagrada Familia. This project was funded to encourage the ideals of Christianity in Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia

 Behind The Scenes: The Masters at Work

In 1883, Antoni Gaudí took over as the head architect of the project and changed some of the plans that were envisioned by Francisco de Paula del Villar. There were nine architects over the past 140 years working on this religious site. Starting with Francisco de Paula del Villar, the original architect of La Sagrada Familia, specialized in church architecture.

Antoni Gaudí replaced him when he had disagreements with the head of operations, Gaudí was very young. He accepted the project only with the promise he could change all of Francisco’s plans and create his own. Due to his young age, he focused on making plans that could be followed and replicated because he knew this was a large project. He worked on the project for 43 years of his life.

Domènech Sugrañes was an assistant to Gaudí in his time, and when Gaudí died Sugrañes took over for 10 years, following Gaudi’s plans. One day in a fire during the Spanish Civil War, Gaudí’s plans and models were ruined. It is said Sugrañes died from grief at the loss of these plans 2 years later. During his time in charge, Sugrañes had an assistant named Francesc de Paula Quintana, when he passed away, Quintana took over as head of the project.

Francesc de Paula Quintana’s main goals were to restore damages to the crypt which were hurt during the Spanish Civil War and repair Gaudí’s models that Sugrañes lost his life over. In his plans, Gaudí emphasized the use of mathematics, and this proved a necessary science. As most of the plans were lost in the fire, they were able to be reconnected due to the mathematics and guessing games.  Much of this thanks is for Quintana and others that attempted to save the plans as the flames roared. The Passion Facade construction began under Francesc’s oversight.

Isidre Puig i Boada worked alongside Quintana to direct the Passion Facade’s construction. Boada was a big Gaudí’ fan, he researched his works and was in charge for 8 years after Quintana’s death.

Lluís Bonet i Garí was a relative of one of Gaudí’s best competitors which drove him to want to become an architect. He studied with Boada and did a lot of research and visiting to see Gaudí’s works. When Gaudí’s studio burned down under Sugrañes oversight, he risked his life in an attempt to save some work. He and others spent years recovering and piecing it back together. He worked along with Quintana and Boada on the Passion Facade and took over after their death.

Francesc de Paula Cardoner i Blanc worked with Boada and Bonet as an architect, he was one of the last chief architects of this church.

Jordi Bonet i Armengol was the son of Lluís Bonet I Garí, he spent a lot of his childhood at La Sagrada Familia, which led him to become an architect. He went on to spend 27 years as the head architect and completed projects and completing some of Gaudí’s dreams.

Last but not least, Jordi Faulí i Oller joined the architect team before he completed his studies. His job was to incorporate new ideas and technology into the plans. He was the assistant of Jordi Bonet, and later replaced him most recently in 2012 when it was decided to hand the project down to younger generations. He is in charge of the 4 central towers at the moment, the main entrance of La Sagrada Familia, and the Glory Facade.

Will Oller be the last of 9 architects and over 140 years of talent? We have to wait around to see…

Facades of La Sagrada Familia

There are three main facades in La Sagrada Familia, the Nativity, Passion, and the Glory Facade. The Nativity Facade is devoted to the birth of Jesus. The Passion Facade is devoted to his passion, death, and resurrection. The Glory Facade is the main attraction of the three, it’s devoted to Jesus in all his glory in life and death. Currently, only two of the three facades are completed.

It is the largest unfinished Catholic Church in the world currently, but unfinished. It is expected to be completed within the next few years.

The North Facade

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is nearing completion but I didn’t like all of it. The North facade is one of the only original parts of the design by Gaudi, it’s the one I prefer.  After the death of Gaudi, other architects took over, changing plans and the course of completion over time. These were not the original plans for this building, but it is a beautiful combination of various artists.

The South Facade

La Sagrada Familia (South façade)
The Southern Facade of La Sagrada Familia isn’t as nice a sight as the Northern one. Here is a shot that conceals the ugly 1950s-ish statuary as best as it can. I do however enjoy that this piece of art was put forward for the people, by the people.

Sagrada Familia (South)
I said I didn’t like the South facade of the Sagrada Familia, but I managed to capture that particular angle which looked nicer and looked good in black and white too…

Hopefully it will be finished by 2026, and everything put together will be better than Gaudí imagined.

Emilie Leger
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  1. It’s amazing how many people have been involved in the construction and reconstruction of this cathedral. Quite interesting and a well written article.

    • Yes, it took many strong minded architects to craft this place, I can’t wait to see the final product! Hopefully it will be everything Gaudí imagined and more. Thank you for the kind words.

    • I was so surprised when I read into it, it has a fascinating history! Thank you for the kind words, David and yes, hopefully soon we will be able to see the finished product!

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