La Sagrada Familia – exterior
The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is remarkable for its size and ambition. This church, which occupies a whole block of the Eixample district, is a mass of profusely worked stone in catherdal-like dimensions. Built around a Latin cross ground plan with five naves, it is characterized by its stylized towers, crowned by pinnacles covered in ceramics.
Begun under Gaudi’s careful watch in 1883, the project saw some setbacks in the mid-20th century, but lately the progress has been remarkable. The city has set a goal of finishingby 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s death.
When Gaudi died only one section, the Nativity Facade, had been completed. Mixing Gothic-style symbolism, images from nature, and Modernista asymmetry, the Nativity Facade is the best example of Gaudi’s original vision, and it established the template for future architects.
Here is the Nativity Facade:
The theme of this facade, which faces the rising sun, is Christ’s bitrth. A statue above the doorway shows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger. It’s the Holy Family – or “Sagrada Familia” – for whom this church is dedicated.
The church has three facades – Nativity, Passion, and Glory. They all chronicle Christ’s life from birth to death to resurrection. Many of Gaudi’s blueprints were destroyed during the civil war. Later architects and artists would rely more on their own creativity. Look at the Passion Facade, how different it is from the Nativity Facade. The lower part was only inspired by Gaudi’s design. These modern-looking sculptures were interpreted freely (and controversially) by Josep Maria Subirachs, who completed the work in 2005.
The style is severe and unadorned, quite different from Gaudi’s signature playfulness. But the bone-like archways are closely based on Gaudi’s original designs. And Gaudi had made it clear that this facade should be grim and terrifying. (Source: Rick Steves, Spain)
The Glory Facade is not finished yet.