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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Cathedral of the Sacred Family, Barcelona, Spain.  Image by Lew Dominy

Editor’s Note: The following guest blog is from long time, top caliber, West Coast architect Lew Dominy.  A few months ago, I ran into Lew and he said he was contemplating retirement—maybe.  Now seeing via his blog that he’s in Barcelona—maybe he made good on his retirement.

Estimated completion date 2026
FANTASTIC VOYAGE--I have just returned from a fantastic voyage that returned me to some locations I had last visited 42 years ago. Gaudi’s Cathedral of the Sacred Family in Barcelona, Spain, was such a wonderful surprise.  When I was there long ago, the interior was only sixty years along in its construction, and you could not go inside because it was all full of scaffolding.  Now, after more than a hundred years, there are still multiple cranes on the outside where construction continues, but the inside, at least, is completed and was dedicated/consecrated last year by the Pope.  This building alone was worth the trip.  It reinforces the concept we strive for of timelessness in our designs.  Conceived 100 years ago, it will always be an awesome and inspiring space.  We never stop learning.
I hope you enjoy a few photos and some day can visit this wild and organic interpretation of the classic Gothic Cathedral.   I was blown away.

To see Lew’s photography of Gaudi’s unfinished symphony go to his blog:

MORE ON: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família

From 1915 Gaudí devoted himself almost exclusively to his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família, a synthesis of his architectural evolution. After completion of the crypt and the apse, still in Gothic style, the rest of the church is conceived in an organic style, imitating natural shapes with their abundance of ruled surfaces. He intended the interior to resemble a forest, with inclined columns like branching trees, helicoidal in form, creating a simple but sturdy structure. Gaudí applied all of his previous experimental findings in this project, from works such as the Park Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell, creating a church that is at once structurally perfect, harmonious and aesthetically satisfying.

The Sagrada Família has a cruciform plan, with a five-aisled nave, a transept of three aisles, and an apse with seven chapels. It has three facades dedicated to the birth, passion and glory of Jesus, and when completed it will have 18 towers: four at each side making a total of 12 for the apostles, four on the transept invoking the evangelists and one on the apse dedicated to the Virgin, plus the central tower in honor of Jesus, which will reach 170 metres (560 ft) in height. The church will have two sacristies adjacent to the apse, and three large chapels: one for the

Assumption in the apse, and the Baptism and Penitence chapels at the west end; also, it will be surrounded by a cloister designed for processions and to isolate the building from the exterior. Gaudí used highly symbolic content in the Sagrada Família, both in architecture and sculpture, dedicating each part of the church to a religious theme. 

During Gaudí’s life only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. Upon his death his assistant Domènec Sugrañes took over the construction; thereafter it was directed by various architects. Jordi Bonet i Armengol assumed responsibility in 1987 and continued as of 2011. Artists such as Llorenç and Joan Matamala, Carles Mani, Jaume Busquets, Joaquim Ros i Bofarull, Etsuro Sotoo and Josep Maria Subirachs (creator of the Passion facade) have worked on the sculptural decoration. Completion is not expected until at least 2026 (the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death). –Wikipedia.

Interior Image: Lew Dominy,, San Diego, CA
Exterior Image: Public domain

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