What Is the ‘Unfinished Church’? ‘Gaudí and the Sagrada Família Exhibition’ Opens

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), an architect born in Spain and who studied architecture in Barcelona, made his mark immediately after graduating from university.

Gaudí designed many famous buildings, but perhaps the most famous is the Sagrada Família. Gaudí became the second architect to work on building this church, which began in 1882.

Gaudí not only designed and built this unfinished church, but he also worked hard to raise funds, and in his later years he turned down all jobs in order to complete the Sagrada Família. However, Gaudí tripped over a step, fell, and was killed by a passing streetcar. He did not see its completion.

This exhibition consists of the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 “Gaudí and His Time” 

Follow in the footsteps of the young Gaudí.

  • Chapter 2 “The Sources of Gaudí’s Originality

Gaudí said, “Man does not create. Man discovers, and from that discovery he proceeds.” Follow the history of that era.

  • Chapter 3, “The Story of the Sagrada Família” 

This is the main part of this exhibition.

Today, the Sagrada Família is Gaudí, but Gaudí is actually the second architect. At first, Josep Maria Bucavelha, who worked on religious publications, proposed the cathedral as a “cathedral for the poor.” When construction began in 1882, Villar was the first designer. Gaudí took over the position the following year. Only the crypt had been completed, but Gaudí changed the design significantly.

After that, Gaudí made the construction of this Sagrada Família his life’s work, and worked hard to raise funds, aiming for completion. However, due to the misfortune mentioned above, was not able to.

Etsuro Sotoo and other excellent people then took over the idea, and it progressed to the point where it is now scheduled to be completed in 2026.

It has long been said that Spain produces an extraordinary genius once every 100 years. Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, and Gaudí are considered representatives. 

  • Chapter 4, “The Legacy of Gaudí” 

This chapter introduces Gaudí’s influence on later architecture and architects. Among them are the names and works of Japanese architects such as Toyoo Ito and Arata Isozaki.

The Sagrada Família church is nearing completion, and this exhibit is one I wanted to see as soon as possible.

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