What better way to devote a day than to spending time with the works of Antoni Gaudi? This marks day three of our explorations of Barcelona where we have lost our way in the labyrinth of streets in the Gothic neighborhood where we’re staying, strolled through the newer, more upscale part of town, which celebrated the opening of a huge new Apple store this week, and marveled at the church — La Sagrada Familia — that Catalonian architect Gaudi dedicated forty three years of his life to and which is still under construction. The project, well over half completed, now has a projected end date of 2026, one hundred years after Gaudi’s death. I’ve wanted to see La Sagrada Familia for at least twenty years, ever since I saw photos of the exterior. It was good that I waited, because back then there was only exterior to see and now there is an interior to go with it.
The inside and outside of the building offer large contrasts. Some surfaces of the former are rough, jarring, and look in places like wax was melted over them and allowed to build up texture unevenly. Another facade looks like a deeply cut Cubist bas relief. The latter contains smooth, soaring lines that create a sense of peacefulness. The interior stained glass windows, constructed from pieces of broken colored glass, materials Gaudi liked to work with, are beautiful mosaics, It’s obvious that more than one architect has been involved and that each had his own vision of what the final product should achieve. Ultimately the eight thousand worshipers the building will hold at any one time will be the judges of the final product.