In the middle of one of the busiest cities in Europe stands a 130 year old building site..

The world's most beautiful building site

The world’s most beautiful building site

 

Towers within towers

Towers within towers

It doesn’t really fit in with any of the surrounding architecture;  it doesn’t really fit in with anything, but we love this place and the brain of the man who conceived it. Despite its age, the Sagrada Familia is not a relic from the past, but a thriving, functioning monument to greatness– that won’t be finished for another 20 years – a hundred years after its creator died.

Seemingly chaotic, but every detail accounted for

Seemingly chaotic, but every detail accounted for

Work began on the Sagrada Familia in 1882, but it was when Antoni Gaudi took over the following year and changed much of the original design, that this monument to nature, mathematics and sheer brilliance started to slowly take shape.

How did he even imagine it

How did he even imagine it

At first glance there is no logic to the angles and curves, no discipline to the design with lines, bends, circles, ellipses and every other shape imaginable. But once you have marvelled at how anyone could even begin to think of such a construct, go down into the museum and be blown away by the explanations of the genius of his thinking and methods; the pure logic of the mathematics; the lessons learned from nature and the unique creations of his own, and suddenly it makes sense and becomes even more beautiful than it was already.

Electic and functional design

Electic and functional design

Different colours for different functions - all stunning

Different colours for different functions – all stunning

A forest of columns holding up the sky

A forest of columns holding up the sky

Beauty and genius wherever you look

Beauty and genius wherever you look

Even though it is still only half complete, it is already a UNESCO World Heritage site – one of seven World Heritage sites created by Gaudi.

Park Guell - another of Gaudi's creations

Park Guell – another of Gaudi’s creations

The famous lizard of Park Guell

The famous lizard of Park Guell

Everyone's park

Everyone’s park

Gaudi gargoyles

Gaudi gargoyles

Tragically and perhaps ironically for the creator of this and other fantastic visual feasts, it was the shabby way Gaudi looked that meant he died alone and uncared for, with less than 20% of his masterpiece complete. In his later years Gaudi had started to dress like a poor workman most of the time and rarely carried money or ID. On his way to the church one morning in 1926 he was hit by a tram. Mistaken for a tramp, he was untended in hospital and died days later from injuries that might well have been treatable. Our photos do no justice to Gaudi and the builders and designers who came after him, but we are sharing them with you anyway.

Many thanks to Cindy Baxter for also drawing our attention to a fantastic sixty second video that shows how it will look when completed. 

If that whets your appetite some more, then you can also take a virtual tour here:  http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/sf-eng/docs_instit/vvirtual.php?vv=1

But nothing beats being there – if you get the chance then grab it!