La Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Barcelona Spain, is an astounding architectural masterpiece conceptualized and designed by Antoni Gaudi, frequently referenced as Spain’s most distinguished architect. Gaudi’s vision commenced in 1883 when he began transforming the design of this cathedral (initial construction started a year earlier) into architectural forms incorporating Spanish Gothic, Catalan Modernism and Art Nouveau styles.
Gaudi’s design embodies three façades (The Nativity Façade, the Passion Façade and the Glory Façade), each purposefully and uniquely different in architectural style. He also integrated 18 spires into his design: 14 represent the Apostles, one represents the Virgin Mary, another represents the four evangelists and the tallest spire symbolizes Jesus Christ. As of 2010, eight of the spires were finished.
When 74-year old Antoni Gaudi died suddenly in 1926 after being struck by a passing vehicle on his morning stroll, construction of the Sagrada Familia was approximately 20% complete. 88 years later, the basilica remains unfinished. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, a century after the architect’s death. With ongoing interruptions, a reliance on donations for revenue sources, many longstanding controversies amongst local residents, and some of the basilica’s most challenging work still to come, a 2026 completion may or may not be realized. Whatever the outcome, La Sagrada Familia remains one of Barcelona’s most revered, immortalized and ubiquitous sites. Over 6,500 people turned out to witness its consecration and proclamation as a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in November of 2010.
La Sagrada Familia is, without a doubt, Antoni Gaudi’s magnum opus, It is therefore rather felicitous that Gaudi’s remains are encrypted in Sagrada Familia’s Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.