Nothing can prepare you for your first experience of the Temple Expiatori de La Sagrada Familia. At the Nativity facade entrance, the outside appears aged and autumnal and intricately sculpted. Upon entry, you find yourself surprised by the brilliance of a towering sacred forest, lit as if through leaves from above and through stained glass windows from all sides. The influence on Antoni Gaudi, the architect, of the natural world is striking both inside and out. As a boy he showed a strong interest in shapes, colors and the geometry of nature. He learned copper smithing from his father. At the age of 36, having earned his architect’s diploma only five years earlier, Gaudi was commissioned with the continuation of the work on La Sagrada Familia. In addition to that responsibility, Gaudi completed numerous other major projects over the following years during which he developed his unique architectural style and technology. At least six of these buildings have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Beginning in 1914, Gaudi devoted all of his time to La Sagrada Familia, until his death in 1926. During the last years of his life, Gaudi planned many parts of the church so that they could be built in the future. He did this by combining geometrical forms and performing structural experiments and calculations.
Since the outset 129 years ago, the La Sagrada Familia has been built from donations, always respecting the will of the architect’s original design and models. Gaudi used the architectural structure as well as the decorative images to express the symbols of Christianity.