Antoni Gaudí
A Famous Spanish Architect

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Plácid Guillerm Gaudí i Cornet was born on 25 June 1852 in the province of Tarragona in Catalonia.  His name is Catalan and not Castilian Spanish.  He grew up to be an architect of the Modernist movement, also known as Art Nouveau. 

Gaudi
(Wikimedia Commons)

His parents were called Fransesc and Antonia and they both came from coppersmith families.

Antoni attended the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura, in Barcelona, where he studied architecture from 1873 to 1877. 

Although he designed lots of buildings, (and even lamp posts) his most famous achievement is the enormous cathedral in Barcelona called La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family).  Its official name in the Catalan language is Templo Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.
It was designed with a total of eighteen towers for the following reason:- twelve towers for the twelve apostles, four towers for the four evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus.  This amounts to eighteen!

Sagrada Familia
(Photo of La Sagrada Familia, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Antoni spent forty years working on the cathedral and by the time of his death in 1926 it was still unfinished with only one of the towers constructed.  Below is a photo taken in 1915, showing the progress of the building-work at that time.

Sagrada Familia
(Wikimedia Commons)

In order to finish the building, Domènech Sagranyes, continued to work on it but this too was halted at the time of the Spanish Civil War which started in 1936.  In fact, some parts of the cathedral were destroyed during the war.

Since 1940, a group of architects have continued to construct the building.  It is planned to be finally completed in the year 2026!  This will be exactly one hundred years after Gaudí's death!  It is amazing to think that, after such a long time, the building is still under construction!

Although it is incomplete, La Sagrada Familia  is one of the most visited places in Spain. 

Why did Antoni Gaudí take so long to build the cathedral?  It is believed that he became very sad over the deaths of friends and family during a period of his life.  So, he slowed down and lost his enthusiasm for life generally. 
When asked why he was so slow in building the cathedral, he replied, 'My client (i.e. God) is not in a hurry!'

In July, 1926, Gaudi died after being hit by a tram.  He was laid to rest in the crypt of La Sagrada Familia.
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