La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is the last of the world's great buildings that has a construction spanning multiple generations, multiple centuries and multiple architects. The masterpiece and life work of Antoni Gaudi was envisaged in the mid 19th century, after a period of several decades of raising funds the project commenced late 19th century. The 20th century saw many challenges and obstacles such as the Spanish civil war and the early death of Gaudi.
Jump forward to 2015 and La Sagrada Familia is simultaneously the worlds most visited building, a Basillica offering daily services and a major construction site. It's scale is overwhelming taking up one entire city block. It's towers are surrounded and dwarfed by construction cranes and it can be seen from many points of the city.
Nothing in the design is accidental, nothing is without meaning and nothing is simply decorative. Every aspect of the building is cutting edge in terms of design and is the ultimate tribute to the life of Jesus and the Christian story and faith. Yet even atheists are moved by physical beauty of the building and the devotion of its architect.
We entered the Familia through the Nativity facade, the first of the facades to completed in the late 19th century. It's late afternoon and the first thing that strikes you is the light that floods in through the western facing stained glass windows. The pillars that hold up the ceiling are reminiscent of trees and is as if you are standing in a forrest with the the light filtering in through the leaves of the canopy. Yet this is undoubtedly a cathederal and even though the sound of construction machinery is the background noise, one can't help being overcome by emotion simply by being present inside this UNESCO heritage listed building.
Construction is progressing at its most rapid rate, yet La Sagrada Familia will not be completed until 2040. It is without doubt a tribute to humanity.