Current Status of the Construction (1998)
Following Gaudí's project, the main nave of the temple has been under construction since 1986. The definitive plans were drawn based on the original models, with the collaboration of the architectural schools of the University of Deakin (Australia) and the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya (Polytechnic University of Catalonia).
The columns stand on foundations, which are cylindrical concrete piles of up to 1.25 meters in diameter, reaching a maximum depth of 20 meters below the level of the temple.
The lateral naves are finished: 1000 square meters covered with 30 meter-high vaults. The columns, skylights, and vaults were designed by Gaudí with naturalist forms, using only geometric figures which had never been present in architecture: parabolas, hyperboles, conoids and helicoids. The result is an interior space which Gaudí himself defined as a forest of stone, with leaning columns which divide like the branches of a tree to support the vaults and ceilings. The vaults contain a great number of skylights, which will allow natural and artificial light to enter the interior of the nave.
The parts of the columns, windows and vaults are made with natural stone (sandstone, granite, basalt, and porphyry) and concrete (prefabricated or set on-site), with an interior structure of reinforced concrete, which was originally used by Gaudí in the construction of the pinnacles of the bell towers on the Nativity facade. At the peaks of the windows, there are stone baskets, which contain sculptured fruits created with colored Venetian glass by the Japanese sculptor Sotoo.
At this point, 18 windows, 160 columns and 75 circular skylights have been constructed in the vaults. The vaults of the central nave (45 meters high) are currently being worked on, and will be finished by the end of the year. They are made with ceramic bricks, using the technique of flat-brick vaulting, or "Catalan vaults." The vaults include some decorative elements in the shape of green- and gold- colored palms. Work is also being done on the transept of the Passion Facade and the foundation of the columns that will support the central towers, which correspond to Christ and the writers of the four gospels. Soon, 4.5 meter-high basalt structural joints and 22 meter-high porphyry columns will be put in place.
the Passion Facade, Subirachs,
the sculptor, has finished
the sculptured groups of the
porch, as well as the two
bronze side-doors. He is currently
working on the two central
doors and the sculpture of
the apostle St. Thomas.