Work on the Sagrada Família started in 1882 using the conventional neo-Gothic designs of Francisco de Paula del Villar. The work was handed over to Antoni Gaudí who worked on it for the next 4 decades.
This is a truly awe inspiring temple and inspired by a deep seated faith. With its impossibly tall columns representing trees and arches for branches, the interior is a sort of homage to the natural world.
The organic and natural curvature of the arches and stone work is a hallmark of Gaudí’s architectural style. While we revel in Gaudí’s indomitable signature curves and shapes, we forget that in order or achieve them, he was an accomplished structural engineer. The imposing mosaic stained glass windows are typical of the exuberant flashes of colour seen in much of his architecture. Natural light pours in and is diffused over the light coloured stonework.
Sagrada Família is not a cathedral though it was elevated to the status of a “minor basilica” when Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the unfinished church in 2010. Today, although still in construction after 133 years, it attracts three million visitors annually. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, to celebrate the centennial of the architect’s death.