Construction on the Sagrada Familia began in 1883, when famed architect Antoni Gaudi first laid the blueprint for his now-iconic Barcelona church. Gaudi devoted his last years to the project, and 130 years later, it's widely regarded as one of the most stunningly unique buildings on Earth. It also has yet to be completed…
Using advanced aeronautical design software, [New Zealand born architect] Mark Burry* and other architects have been able to reverse engineer Gaudi's models from leftover shards. Today, Burry is among a group of architects leading construction on the church's central tower, which, when completed, will stand 566 feet above the ground, making it the tallest church on Earth.
But the fact that they had to use 21st century software to realize a 19th century vision stands as testament to Gaudi's avant garde design language.
"We had to look to other professions who've actually tackled the complexities of the Família," [says Burry]. The only equivalents, he added, are the initiatives undertaken by today's car, plane, and ship designers. "They've been grappling for decades with the very same issues that Gaudí was putting up as architectural challenges."
It also speaks to Gaudi's breathtaking ambition. According to biographer Gijs van Hensenberg, Gaudi envisioned the Sagrada Familia as an encapsulation of the entire Catholic history — a "Bible written in stone" that radically blends Gothic tradition with modernist sensibilities. "He's someone who reinvented the language of architecture," van Hensenberg said.
*Interested in this? Then you might like to know that Mark Burry will be lecturing around the country next week as this year’s Futuna Lecture:
Professor Mark Burry is a New Zealand born architect and was a lecturer at Victoria University before moving to Australia and is now Professor of Innovation and Director of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory at RMIT University, Melbourne.
Mark will speak about his ongoing work with the construction of Antonio Gaudi's Catholic Basilica 'Sagrada Familia' in Barcelona Spain as well as his continuing spatial design research at the Design research Institute (DRI) in Melbourne.