Friday, November 12, 2010

Sagrada Construction Zone

Sagrada Família, the giant church designed by architect Antoni Gaudí is probably Barcelona's most famous landmark, an unmistakable symbol of the city. Its motifs and others by Gaudí are now grist for souvenir shops. In fact, Gaudí is to Barcelona is what Wolfgang Mozart and Gustav Klimt are to Vienna.

Given that the Sagrada Família is one of a handful of structures I've wanted to see ever since I became aware of architecture, my wife and I dutifully exited the subway around 10 one chilly October morning hoping to avoid the worst of the crowds guidebooks had warned us about. No luck. The books told us to expect a 45-minute wait to enter, and that's just about the time it took us. While in line we were entertained by helicopters circling the site bearing tourist-photographers.

The church is unfinished even though construction has been under way for nearly 130 years. The Wikipedia link above mentions that there are hopes it will be completed in 2026, the centennial of Gaudí's death. The link also notes that it was consecrated by the Pope a few days ago despite its unfinished state.

As things stand, construction is going full tilt. Outside, the church is surrounded by cranes and the interior is cluttered with workers and their equipment. The following photos I took are intended to give you a sense of where things stand.

This is the east front with the Nativity Entrance. It was built earlier and is the view people are most familiar with.

Tourists enter on the opposite side, however. This is a general view of that entrance.

Four interior views looking upward.

Views of interior construction.

This photo is of a display case containing models.

Models have been an important design aid since the beginning. This is a room where they are fabricated and stored.

The completed church is supposed to include a large central tower topped by a cross. I'm not sure that will be an improvement over the present state where the building is surrounded by a host of spires.

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