Sagrada Familia, part II
The drama goes on…
Previously on Sagrada Familia…
After roaming around some churches, Josep Maria Bocabella, a bookseller, had a revelation. Josep decided to create a unique church devoted to Saint Joseph in Barcelona. Unfortunately, there were serious problems that stopped the construction. And then the superhero architect Antoni Gaudí showed up and…SPOILER ALERT!
Keep reading for more drama around Sagrada Familia HAHA
Gaudí took over the construction of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in November 1883. When he joined the construction in 1883, Gaudi was on probation for a few months and so he only made minor changes to the project. But like Lady Di, he was one of a kind and he was not gonna remain silent forever. He started working on the crypt first, adding more light and realistic elements and designs – typical features of Art Nouveau, the trendiest style ever back then.
The funding of Sagrada Familia
However, the construction got so far that they ran out of funds when the art was about to explode in a creative bang. It was after ten years that a big fat check came for the Sagrada Familia Fund with more than half a million pesetas of the time, about a million dollars nowadays. Who was the donor? Some rumors say that Bocabella left all his fortune to his beloved church at his death in 1892. Call the FBI, it is still unknown!
Gaudí almost ran mad with all of that cash, his dreams are going to become a real possibility! He was a natural workaholic. That fantasy and life goal was re-shaping Sagrada Familia and he did an amazing job.
The idea was to have a whole new stunning Sagrada (tallest church in Barcelona with its peak at 172,5m, 3 full facades with 18 towers, apse, and 5 naves). Using the finest materials, and with a new superstar, Jesus instead of Joseph. It was so immense that at the time, even Gaudí knew he couldn’t be able to finish the construction work during his lifetime and that was why he developed major guidelines and designs and left room for the newer generations. The never-ending story, like Dr. Who? Plot twist! It is Drama Number Two: Death & War, but since this one is a big-time drama and we all know what happens in war we’ll skip this sad part.
The tragic ending
Driving the Delorian, let’s jump ahead to 7th June 1926. The head architect Gaudi left Sagrada Familia and went for a mass at Sant Felip Neri church in Barcelona City Center. Coming back from the service, at a crossroad, something terrible happened.
Gaudí wasn’t paying attention to both sides of the street, thinking in the clouds, the Instagram stories back in the day, and then…BOOM! A tramway ran him over. He fell down to the floor, unconscious and covered in blood. Because he was poorly dressed when the accident happened, with a long hipster beard, he looked much more like a Goya painting character and less like the architect of a national site. No one recognized him. A homeless man, thinking he was pitying a fellow homeless man, took him to a charity hospital where he was barely attended.
Over two days passed, and the entire country was in turmoil, searching for Antoní Gaudí! On the 9th of June, one of Sagrada Familia chaplains came to visit patients in the charity hospital and found him by sheer luck in very bad shape. Despite the best efforts of the nun who was with him, a conscious Gaudí refused to be moved to a better hospital and he died on 10th June like a John Doe. Of course, his death and funeral service became a demonstration of pure drama. Gaudí was buried on the crypt of Sagrada Familia and was given a farewell by 12000 people.
The project legacy that helped Sagrada Familia
Fortunately, he had left plenty of 3D models, plans, documents, and cool stuff for any other cool architects to understand. Even then, another plot twist was about to come. Ten years later, in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the anarchists attacked the Sagrada Familia and sacked and rioted the architect’s workshop, leaving nothing but destruction. The Nativity image was crumbled, the construction was stopped, the country was in really bad shape and there was no money to resume. How do they manage to continue? MAGIC!
After the war, some of the workers and collaborators of Sagrada Familia reunited, rebuilt some of the broken models, and piece by piece, little by little, in a huge brainstorming, reconstructed the project from scratch. It was a pure miracle, and since then, each generation has been adding new funding through donations and ticket fees, new technologies, new materials, new techniques, all complying and making reachable the 2026 completion goal. This was chopped off with COVID and at the end of 2023 is still a mystery where it was supposed to be finished.
To be continued…
Thanks so much for living these moments with me, see you in my next post!
Do you know where it is? Here is a map to solve this matter 😉