Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 – Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, ​​Spain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is still under construction more than 100 years after its construction began, and is synonymous with “buildings that will never be completed.” However , it has recently been announced

that the Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary will be inaugurated in 2025, and the 172.5m-tall main tower, the Tower of Jesus Christ, will be inaugurated in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. It’s becoming a hot topic. To commemorate this history-changing news, we present the following article about Sagrada Familia, translated and reprinted from Parametric-architecture.com .


A Review of Antonio Gaud’s Architecture: His Structural Engineering

Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 - Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

Antonio Gaudí’s works invite each viewer to interpret them in their own way. Some of the works are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “The Works of Antoni Gaudi”, and the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell are landmarks for Barcelona’s local residents and highly valued by the local government.

It’s amazing how unfinished Sagrada Familia is. His architecture attracts many tourists, and architects and architecture students often study its composition and form.

I’ll explore his individual works in more detail in separate articles, but here I’ll take a look at an aspect that is often not considered: his structural engineering, or better yet, the philosophy behind his architecture and engineering. I will discuss it.

Sagrada Familia Hidden Thoughts under Gaud’s Eyes

However, in this article, I would like to gain a deeper understanding of Antonio Gaudí as a person, as well as Gaudí as an artist and architect, and to become more familiar with the hidden thoughts that underlie his work. I would like readers to understand his work, or come close to being able to understand it.

Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 - Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

Jeremy Law wrote this in his book titled “Antonio Gaudí” published in 2009.

“We have to take into account the various factors that influenced his thinking, such as his family environment, childhood, place of birth and school, friends and relationships, and the countries in which he lived in Catalonia and Spain.

Why do we need to go to such lengths to understand Gaudi, including the history of what happened? The biggest reason for this is that it is difficult to understand Gaudi as simply a product of the era in which he lived.

In some ways, Sagrada Familia may be similar to other large-scale productions undertaken in Europe at the time. For example, we can think of the works and philosophy of Le Corbusier, who is said to have admired Gaudi. However, Gaudí’s formal language and working process were completely different from those of his peers.

Comillas, a Catalan town near Bilbao, is home to El Capricho and Gaudi’s villa. In the courtyard, there is a statue of Gaudi installed in his honor.

In fact, there are very few bronze statues or photographs of Gaudi, and this bronze statue of Gaudi sitting and contemplating is a valuable piece that gives us a glimpse of what he looked like. Behind the façade of the formal structure that he envisioned, one can only imagine what the statue of Gaudi is thinking while looking at his own work. And it is only by observing Gaudi and thinking about him in this way that we can approach and understand his works.

Gaudí’s family has been coppersmiths for over five generations

Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 - Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

Gaudí’s family had been coppersmiths for over five generations, producing vats for distilling alcohol from grapes grown in the Camp de Tarragona. Gaudi himself admitted that he was greatly influenced by the curved form of the tub, which was made by hammering copper plates. Gaudi is said to have learned from the curved form of this copper vat that he could visualize his works in space, rather than projecting them geometrically onto a flat surface.

 “This vision of colorful, shiny, soft metal-like, deformable, sculptural, vibrant forms, inspired by his childhood and his father’s workplace, is a constant in his architectural practice.” “It became an element that led to the development of the Gaudi was also a shy child and spent many summers at his father’s country home. He was probably escaping the ongoing civil war in Spain.

The Influence of Nature on Gaud’s Personality and Artistry

Other events also played a role in the formation of Gaudí’s personality and artistry. Law goes on to say: “Gaudi’s ability to observe was also related to the fact that he was a sickly child suffering from rheumatic fever. Gaudi was often sick and could not play with other children. Gaudi spent a lot of his time observing nature, and he realized that there are countless shapes in the world that are very suitable for structures and others that are very suitable for decoration. With his intelligence, he realized that each person has a different form.

Gaudi’s interest in nature ultimately influenced his work. In a sense, his work can be said to be a form of biomimicry, which attempts to utilize the superior properties of the functions and structures of living things and plants.

Gaudi was also concerned with the nature and essence of individual elements of architecture. To put it simply, he became a master of his profession. Gaudí not only knew every detail of every component of his work, but also before construction tests he had to understand how the parts of his work react when external forces are applied to them, for example when weight is applied. We even conducted an experiment to see if a force was applied to it. Additionally, the use of almost no traditional design equipment (such as a compass) or structural components (such as buttresses or crutches) allowed him to work freely and creatively, even improvising when necessary.

preferred 3D models to flat Euclidean geometry

Furthermore, Gaudi preferred 3D models to the study of flat Euclidean geometry, and constantly sought out and derived new forms in nature in order to deeply understand the complexity found in nature. Among his interests in natural forms, there are certain forms that he particularly focused on.

Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 - Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

Let me explain this by quoting Law’s words. “Gaudi noticed that in nature we often see distorted curved surfaces, that is, curved surfaces made only of straight lines. In all cases, the fibers remain straight, but when they are twisted or distorted, they produce so-called ruled, distorted surfaces.These warped surfaces began to be studied geometrically at the end of the 18th century. They were given difficult names (mainly by Gaspard Monge): helicoid, hyperbolic paraboloid, hyperbolic paraboloid, conoid. It’s easy to make.”

As a result, Gaudí began to focus more specifically on these forms and shapes in context, especially in light of available materials and local architectural styles such as stone and masonry called lasillas. He further notes that in Catalonia, slim bricks are laid so that only their largest sides are visible, often forming surfaces one or two layers thick, which can be used for floors, partitions, walls, and even vaults (in spaces).

I noticed that it is used for voltes de maó de pla (called voltes de maó de pla in Catalan) with its warped surface. “He changed current geometry by replacing cubes, spheres, and prisms with hyperboloids, helicoids, and conoids, and decorating them with natural features such as flowers, water, and rocks.

He changed the fundamentals of architecture: geometry. , which completely changed the face of art.” Such shapes can be seen throughout his work, including the interior of the Sagrada Familia, the entrance to Colonia Güell, and the top floor of La Pedrera. Among his many works, it must be remembered that these works have never been seen before. The sculptural architecture, reminiscent of lava and molten fabric, represents the natural world and its complexity. 

To conceive and construct such a building, Gaudí “did not even make use of the inventions of modern architecture, new materials such as reinforced concrete and massive steel structures. With these new materials, new You can imagine to some extent that it is possible to create shapes, but to create something new using old-fashioned techniques is nothing short of genius.”

Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in 2026 - Unraveling its amazing structural beauty

Gaudi had the ability to get things right and understood his technique down to the smallest detail. “His parabolas and hyperboroids were important factors in deciding on the huge sloping columns, vaults, and other structures.In order to achieve both greater absolute stability and a slender and beautiful impression at the same time, Gaudi He designed all branching columns as double twists formed by two helicoidal columns. He designed them as 1-to-1/2, 1-to-2/3, 1-to-3/4…etc. A simple ratio based on one-twelfth of the largest dimension is repeatedly used to provide the width, length, and height ratios of every part of the temple, for example, dividing the total length of the temple (90 meters) by 12. That’s 7.5 meters.”

However, Gaudi’s works would not have captivated so many people without their beautiful and colorful decorations. However, Gaudí himself believed that decorative elements, which were similarly inspired by nature, were attached to and subordinated to the structural ones.

Indeed, his whole idea of ​​transforming a Gothic cathedral, as exemplified by the Sagrada Familia, might have been perceived very differently without its rich natural decoration. However, regardless of whether Gaudí placed more emphasis on the structural or decorative elements, his works tended to make the two indistinguishable.

In an online blog called Gaudi All Gaudi, the author writes: “Gaudi was impressed by the vaulted ceilings of Catalonia, which skillfully used Roman bricks, the simplest finishing material of the time. Gaudí’s thorough mastery of planes and knowledge of generatrices influenced by this inspired him to This allowed him to place the ceramic tiles along the axis.The color of the ceramic, combined with the green and golden glass of the joint openings, created a flower that he had never seen before in a cathedral. We have created a vault that looks like this.”

And Law concludes this way:

“Their organic shapes and patterns offered not only structural possibilities but also countless decorative features. However, Gaudí’s works are full of elements to unravel and unravel; they are sophisticated mirrors of the natural world that hold value even in an increasingly urbanized world. You don’t need any preparation, just the awe and wonder you get when you’re in front of the Grand Canyon.”

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