Today we went to the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. It is the largest and most unique Catholic Church I’d ever seen in person. To me, it resembled more of a gothic palace than a church from the outside, but the inside was all church. This place felt like it had great energy even though there were still cranes outside and construction ladders inside. It’s hard to believe this place is only about half-way through construction.

When we left there I had to find out more about the building, so I went back to the business center at the hotel to do some investigating. It turns out the construction started on this church in 1882. In 1883 they changed architects to Antoni Gaudi. It was then his vision began to form into what we see today. You can tell a lot about a structure by the architect, so of course I dove further into the history of Antoni Gaudi.

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi spent most of his life, but especially his childhood, in pain. He had a condition that made him immobile. He had to lie in the house or travel by donkey everywhere he went. I can’t imagine not being able to play outside with the other kids. He must have been so envious! They say he watched them from his window. He also watched the scenes from nature. He’d watch the birds, the flowers, and all the wonders Mother Nature provided. Some say you can see his appreciation for nature in his architecture.

In school, Antoni studied religion and architecture. He attended a prep school that specialized in architecture and later on went to a university to continue his architectural journey. Between the time he finished school in 1878, Gaudi had worked on over twenty-five structures that are still standing today, including eight World Heritage sites.

antoni_gaudi_1878

I was thoroughly impressed with Antoni Gaudi. I read a lot about his works, his bad temper, and how he started the Modernism movement in Spain. The sad part about the story of his life came after his death. Raiders ransacked and stole the plans for the building of the Sagrada Familia during the Spanish Civil War. Now the construction of the church is up for interpretation. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the plans, but no matter what the construction has continued. The constructors plan to finish the church in 2026, the centennial of Antoni Gaudi’s death. Neat, huh?

Activities:

  1. What was Antonio Gaudi’s childhood like?
  2. After looking at the picture of the Sagrada Familia, what would you highlight about its architecture?
  3. Watch this short documentary with images about Gaudi’s architecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vKKN1zFz9M What impressed you the most?