The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family), is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral which must be the seat of a bishop.
Construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was complete. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked: ‘My client is not in a hurry.’
Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
Construction on Sagrada Família is not supported by any government or official church sources. Private patrons funded the initial stages. Money from tickets purchased by tourists is now used to pay for the work, and private donations are accepted through the Friends of the Sagrada Família.
Below a small impression of my visits to the Sagrada Família in 2003 and 2004.