The Sagrada Familia — they say you either love it or hate it.
From the outside, this building wasn’t something I was terribly fired up about touring. The tickets are pretty expensive (paying to view buildings is one of those things I find it hard to spend money on. Like apps. I won’t think twice about buying that $3 organic heirloom tomato, but ugh! spending $2 on an app is unthinkable. But, I digress…) and as a lover of architecture, I felt Antonio Gaudí’s basilica was a slap in the face to the rules of design.
If you find yourself in Barcelona and you have the chance to visit the Sagrada Familia, but find yourself wavering on the fence, please listen up. Hear me loud and clear, I WAS WRONG. So very, very wrong.
There is no other word to describe it: the Sagrada Familia is astounding. A true masterpiece. As soon as we walked through the elaborately hinged doors, I was instantly in love. Speechless, I gaped around the entryway in total awe. The passion, the talent, the love for his faith was so palpable that you could almost feel the architect’s soul living in the basilica.
This behemoth of a project began in 1882 and Gaudí took over as head architect a year later. He didn’t care much for blueprints (and as a former hand-drafting student I can understand why 😏) and instead allowed his crew to express themselves artistically. Construction documents were nonexistent and instead his plans were executed by following his 3D models.
With construction spanning over a century and a completion date estimated around 2026, the Sagrada Familia has been an ongoing project that has survived both depressions and wars. The fact that its construction is funded entirely through ticket sales (like ours!) and private donations makes it even more of a worldwide project as millions of people pay patronage every year.
The attention to detail in unreal, you guys.
The facades, the columns, the spires, everywhere you look, it’s all completely different.
Gaudí utilized geometry and abstract design in perfect harmony to symbolize his feelings toward faith, and everywhere I looked I saw forest references. Here, the triangles in the ceiling create branches from the stone tree trunks in his distinct Catalan modernist style.
Like look, of these three cornices not a single decorative element is the same. If he had been in design school at the time his professor would have been all, “Nice try 🚫”… But they would have been wrong. It works.
I think it had to be Gaudí’s fascination with nature that truly won me over, and the real reason all of his contrasting elements still remain harmonious. He constructed towering columns to resemble trees and used starbursts on the ceiling to intensify the canopy feeling. Think about the last time you were in a dense forest; no elements out there are really, truly the same, but you feel a peaceful calm when you’re out there right? Gaudí goes after the same effect here and he really pulled it off.
In the morning, light pours in from the east-facing side of the building, casting the interior in a brilliant array of blues. In the evening the sun sets in the west, obviously, and of course this magnificent architect has something equally impressive up his sleeve.
Just look at it. Look how beautiful this fiery orange sunset is through the rose windows! I’ve never seen anything like it. In fact, no one has ever seen anything like it. Famous art critics even say that “it is impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art.” In a world where The Simpson’s Already Did It, that’s quite the statement.
The post-processing on these photos is minimal because it just isn’t needed. The building is designed to interact with nature and the whole, huge basilica works as an art installation as the sunset breaks through the stained-glass windows.
Everywhere you turn, light dances on the walls, columns, and even the floors.
Once we stepped inside we too became living components of Gaudí’s larger-than-life installation. Even with Tyler standing perfectly still, the light radiated from his watch in such a kaleidoscope-like way that his camera couldn’t focus.
No dark, dank old Roman churches here. Have you ever seen a crucifix like this one?
I’m running out of words to convey the splendid beauty and spiritual energy and since a picture’s said to be worth 1000 I’ll just let you enjoy the magic. 🌟
Looks like this seat is reserved ☺️
Outside the main chamber, visitors are allowed a choice between one of two (almost) completed towers. The original plans called for eighteen total spires, of which eight have already been built.
We chose to ascend the Passion facade and along the way there are windows overlooking the city about every two or three feet. Each window grants a spectacularly unique view of its beautiful hometown. Let me make sure you read that right, each window, only inches apart from the others, offers completely different views. Because of course it does.
(Can you tell someone has been watching old Wes Anderson films?)
A perfect mix of green space and buildings, Barcelona remains breezy, open, and extra magical. Check out these four gentlemen in perfect stride on their casual Monday night stroll through the park.
A work in progress, signs of construction are everywhere, and rather than distract, they enhance the experience.
Yes this is real life. (Even though it looks more like a staged Instagram photo to me! 😆)
Years ahead of his time, Gaudí made use of repurposed materials, and turned broken ceramics into works of art.
I am so thankful I was able to experience such a wonderful place. It is a memory that will be cherished for years to come.
I love this city!