Architecture

Entering Heaven on Earth

 

If you happen to be in Barcelona, one would likely have paid a visit to the city’s greatest highlights, the Segrada Familia. This basilica although still under construction makes a grand story linking our contemporary world and technologies with an amazing historical precedent.

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Scaled model of the Segrada Familia

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The Navity Facade

The project has successfully embodied religious symbolism in each of its aspects since the beginning of its construction in 1882.  Gaudi’s eclectic impression of the Gothicism and its central nave is articulated through a nature-inspired design.

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Intricately crafted door handle detail displaying ornamentation responding to ergonomics

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As one steps through the glorified facades of the Segrada Familia, your eyes feast on an interior that is nothing short of miraculous. Ornamentation is so rich consisting of jagged and smooth geometries. Our eyes are drawn to the vertical element columns that serve a structural purpose but are further articulated by divisions like branches forking to the roof.

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The roof itself is another architectural revelation. A combination of brick and concrete vaults are spread around the church. Skylights of the vaults glow together with the stained glass of the facades to create enriching kaleidoscopic hues.

Still under construction after a century, the Segrada Familia is not a closed design but is viewed as collective work amongst generations. “I will grow old but others will come after me. What must always be conserved is the spirit of the work, but its life has to depend on the generations it is handed down to and with whom it lives and is incarnated.”[1] Contemporary architects have chosen instead to ignore many logics and senses of Gaudi. Their interpretations made the Passion façade controversial but characterful in an opposite appearance to the Navity façade; the sculptures and form here many lack a texture and sense of material.

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Sculptures along the Passion Façade

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The Scaled Model of the Passion Façade

Although thousands have contributed to Gaudi’s work, to date there is still no definite end point in sight. It is wonderful to see a monumental architectural work evolve as generations continue to push ideas. To end this article here’s a short video [2] to see what has been, is being and will be built at Gaudi’s finest work!

[1] Basílica de la Sagrada Família. La Fundació de la Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.
[2] 2026 We build tomorrow | Construïm el demà | Construimos el mañana(Video of a visualization of the Segrada Familia)
[3] Basílica de la Sagrada Família Photographs, Benjamin Lee & Ivan Chin