Travel: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain 1998
After Italy, Kevin, Thede, and I went on to Barcelona with Jeff (he lives there now). This is another city that needs to be lived-in for a minimum of a month, if not much more. It has a casualness that Italy lacked and a much younger, more Bohemian vibe. Aside from staying-up late dancing into the early morning hours, eating great Catalan food and continuing to relax, my only other goal was to visit some of Gaudi's best works. I've been interested in Gaudi's architecture since my earliest architecture classes at UC Berkeley and here was my chance to finally see them in person.
His last building, La Sagrada Familia is astounding. It is a soaring spectacle to an original vision of spirituality in stone and, now, concrete. It's strange and disturbing to walk around a building already 100 years old that will not be completed in my lifetime.
The two sets of towers (one of which is to the left) are confusing since they seem to suggest the front and back of the church. However, they merely form the perpendicular axis across what will form the full church when finished. The center tower (to be completed long from now, no doubt) will rise almost two times the height of these two sets of towers and fit over the church between them. It will be a magnificent site when completed.
The details you see above are from the Southern facade (under the towers pictured at the top of the page). On this side, the sculptural style is very modern--almost cubist. On the other, the detail is very ornate and traditionally representational. However, I think that this more modern style fits the building so much better than the other. It is obviously more natural and expressive of the architecture when you see it in person. It has an emotion that representational sculpture cannot create.
I feel in love with this building and its details. Every turn and view offers incredible and original details that are both surprising and inspiring. The light plays off the surfaces and highlights the form from every angle, at every time of day.
We climbed the towers on the Northern side (367 steps!) and I could barely pull myself away to leave.
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