The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (English: Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family; Spanish: Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia), commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926).
More than 1,500 people were evacuated from one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions, Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica, after an apparent arson attack. Four people were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out in the sacristy of Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece. A "disturbed" man was arrested after a group of tourists raised the alarm.
In Barcelona, preservationists' fears about a train tunnel under the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia forced extensive engineering measures to avoid damaging the church.
Pope Benedict XVI has consecrated Antoni Gaudi's unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia, as a basilica in the Spanish city of Barcelona. The Pope sprinkled holy water on the altar before a congregation of more than 6,500 people. Gaudi's greatest work has been under construction for more than a century, and will not be finished before 2026. The current chief architect said he hoped the Pope's visit would provide the boost needed to finish the work.
In the year 2003, the Vatican opened the formal process for the beatification of Antoni Gaudi, responding to an initiative by people close to the Sagrada Familia. The tomb of Gaudi is being promoted as a cult site, while the temple itself, despite continuing controversy related to its politico-religious and architectural significance, has become the one building most closely associated with the city of Barcelona and its principal tourist attraction.
At a time when the Sagrada Família had come almost to a standstill for lack of funds, the Lliga support infused new money and new meaning useful for both political and spiritual camps. As the city grew to embrace it and the temple spires rose skyward (fig. 9), it was the more general imagery of "growth," of massive and vertiginous ascent, that would carry the symbolic weight desired by the Lliga over the following years, indexing the ascendancy of the party within the Catalan political panorama.
One of its remarkable factors is that the designs were considered 'modern' in Gaudi's time, yet they somehow remain 'new' in the context of today's architecture, displaying abstract expression and challenges in structure.
The project of the temple is made up of 18 towers distributed in the following way: 4 towers over each one of the three entrances to the temple, a collection of 6 towers forming a dome with a central tower of 170 meters on top dedicated to Jesus. The inside forms columns which lean in a tree-like manner supporting the vaults.
Gaudí's design altered the original by surrounding it with a cloister, removing the buttresses—whose functions was instead carried out by the weight of the side roofs—and sitting a catenary vault on lightweight ribs. The naves are crossed by transversal passageways that were most probably for the choir.
He assigned one of these forms to each type of the elements that make up the naves. With helicoids he invented a new column in the history of architecture: the double twisted column. He used hyperboloids for the openings of the windows and the vaults. With paraboloids he created linking surfaces on the vaults, the roofs and the columns of the Passion façade. He generated the knots or capitals of the main columns with ellipsoids.
The current director is Jodi Bonet i Armengol, who has revolutionized the cathedral’s construction by introducing cutting edge computerized models and designs to the project. The central nave was completed in 2000, and since then construction has been focused on the transept valuts and apse. Currently construction is projected to be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
Already a Unesco world heritage site visited by millions, it will become the world's tallest church when the 170m (560ft) central tower is erected.
The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is a work on a grand scale which was begun on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.