Amazing Places

Gaudi's Sagrada Família Is Sorta, Kinda, Almost Finished

Have you ever had a project that takes you much longer than you think it will? Imagine if it took more than 134 years longer. That's right — famed Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi began his Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in 1882... and it's now slated for completion in 2026.

The Basilica at night, May 12, 2013

God's Not In A Hurry

If you've ever been to Barcelona, Spain, there's no way you could've missed Gaudi's 558-foot-tall, Gothic/Art Nouveau-style Roman Catholic church, commonly known as the Sagrada Familia, or the Basilica. When you gaze upon its towers, it's as if you've entered a strange, yet magical world — that is, if you can look past the construction cranes. Gaudi wasn't the first architect of the Basilica, however. He took over the masterpiece in 1883 when the original architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, resigned.

Gaudi dedicated the majority of his career to this single project, eventually dying in 1926 with less than a quarter of the Basilica completed. It is still considered the longest-running architectural project on Earth. But, why is it taking so long? Spain has experienced several hurdles during the structure's creation, including a little something called the Spanish Civil War.

Gaudi was often quoted saying "my client is not in a hurry," and by client, he meant God. His vision for the Basilica was a building that encapsulated the history of the Catholic faith. Former chief architect, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, tells Alpine Living that the Sagrada Familia was Gaudi's "call to peace" and was intended to represent humanity. After Gaudi's death, they didn't resume construction until 1952.

The Sagrada Familia, 1905

2026 Is The Year (We Can Feel It)

Gaudi knew he wouldn't be alive to see the church in its completion, so he dedicated his final years to creating three-dimensional models. Many were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, but the few that survived have been crucial for the architects who follow in his footsteps. If the Basilica is indeed ready in 2026, it'll be just in time for the centennial of Gaudi's death. It'll also be the tallest religious building in Europe. And, in our humble opinion, the most impressive.

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The model of La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona
Floor plan model of Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.

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Written By Curiosity Staff February 6, 2017