The report is courtesy of the Sagrada Familia Temple Building Committee.


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Status of the construction in the previous years

Sagrada Familia
Status of the Construction: June 2005

Jordi Bonet i Armengol
Architect Director and Coordinador


Placement of the ascension sculpture.

The most important novelty is the placement of the image of the Ascension of Jesus made by Josep M Subirachs at the height of 60m. It is made of bronze melted in the workshops of Vila de Valls, and guilt and plated by Jordi Abancó and Ramon Mollet, respectively. It shows us the triumphing culmination of Jesus Christ after the Passion, death and resurrection, about to say goodbye to his disciples and everybody waiting for his return.

The preparation of the colonnade of this façade is also progressing, as the walls behind with the names of the patriarchs and the prophets are finished. These walls have been made by Subirachs and sculpted by Bruno Gallart.

We must still solve the technological problem of cutting the granite of the columns. The life-size study in situ of the superior part of the three first columns is progressing. One will see the words Jesús de Natzaret rei dels jueus – “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jewish” on it.


Vault of an apse chapel. © TSF

The concrete is about to be put in the missing tower vaults in the apse chapels. The big windows that close the deambulatory and the ramifications of its ten columns on top of the capitals which will support the vaults situated are being lift at a height of 30 m.

The interiors of the apse chapels have been cleaned and restored and the aspect offered by the transition of its Neogothic architecture with the “new Gaudinian architecture” shows a harmony which we consider very appropriate. It is not possible yet to contemplate it entirely because of the scaffoldings which support the work platform of the vaults and represent a surface of some 300 m2.

The apse stairways are progressing even with the typical difficulties of the unification between the new constructions and those of a more than a century ago. Besides, one is studying the problems provoked by the upset between the triforiums coming from the Birth Façade and which will allow entering via these stairways the cantoria surrounding the apse. These difficulties arise because of the different sizes of the four transept angles. We have been obliged to make several computer drawing studies as well as wax and plaster scale models in order to obtain the most appropriate solution for some of the details which we don’t dispose the original models.


Structure of the beginning of the tower of evangelist Matthew. © TSF

Concrete has been put over the entire slab construction which connects the entire west transept at a height of 45 m. The eight ribs of the dome of Saint Matthew are raised up at 57 m and soon this year we’ll see the four missing windows that will crown them with the Eucharistic symbols of bread and wine. The frames of the Saint John crossbeam are being placed alter flattening the six hyperboloids which it is made of. We expect this east part of the crossbeam to be equalised by the end of July.

Subsequently one has placed the work platforms which were missing in order to be able to start the perimeter part of the vaults at a height of 60 m.

The windows of the central east nave have been placed. They represent Jesus, the light and source of bright water, work of J. Vila Grau.

Gaudí wanted them not to be coloured so that they would not disguise the colours of the paving stones and the in green and gold trencadís, which represent the palm leafs and cover the architectonic shapes that generate the straight lines of the hyperboloids.


Pinnacle of the bunch of grapes. © TSF

As the first four pinnacles of the bunch of grapes with the chalice are placed, of the central nave, sculptor Sotoo is preparing the crowning that represents the bread and wheat of the Eucharist. Fortunately we found at the end of 2004 an important sculpted part of Gaudí’s original model at a 1/10 scale. This has allowed us to make a model which is very faithful to the one Gaudí had designed.


Beginning of the closing wall of the nave on the Glory façade on top of the Jube© TSF

The walls of the front are being lift and the frames are already situated at a height of 20 m. The fifth big windows dedicated to Saint José Manyanet and Saint Juana de Lestonac have been initiated with the sculptures realized by the Japanese E. Sotoo, with the leafs of the apple and pear trees which will later be complemented with its fruits. The shuttering of the vaults of the central cantoría is being prepared. They will join the laterals from side to side of the naves.

The two stairways of the front beginning from the plane part of the Temple reach the height of the Jube.


Model of the railing of the vaults of the apse deambulatory © TSF

The ongoing works allow to create a life-size model of the railings of the crossbeam, of the vaults joining the deambulatory and the transept as well as the elements of the vaults of the centre of the crossbeam. Besides, one is also studying the solution of the problems of the superior part of the apse chapels with the pinnacles of the “O” antiphons corresponding to the Advent liturgy and the coverings of the deambulatory and the support of the great hyperboloid which coincides with the centre of the presbytery and the apse.

One is studying the union between the big windows surrounding the dome of the Virgin, the dismantling of the rainwater and the very complicated and difficult connection of the flights of the vaults that close the area between the columns dedicated to the apostles Peter, Paul, Matthew and James the Youngest. Finally, the coverings of the east and west transepts are being prepared with scale models.

We must also add that one has helped to assembly of the scale models in the different exhibitions where one has collaborated Bremen and Rotterdam.


As the small course of the computer programme “catia” is finished, four architects that participated in the course have been incorporated at the Office on a trial period, in order to amplify the specialised personal that helps working on the progress of the crossbeam project, the apse, the room which will be built between 60 and 85 m and on other very necessary investigation tasks.
One is working on the solutions of the union between the old construction works and the new Guadinist shapes and one will continue studying the solutions of the irregular vaults of the deambulatory and other works that have already been mentioned in the previous site report.
One is also working on the definition of the ejective project of several parts: the ribs and frontons of the evangelists, the cantoría and vaults at 30 m of the Glory Façade, the coverings of the central nave and others.


The discovery in the municipal archives of the only existing Temple plans signed by Gaudí at the end of 1916, with its entire silhouette seen from eight different points, has allowed us to know the heights of the ciborium of the Virgin and the one of the Evangelists. Concretely Gaudí had always planned that the spire dedicated to Maria with a height of 120 m to would a bit lower than those of the evangelists.

We must underline that the whole of the five crossbeam domes with the central which will crown the cross and which is dedicated to Jesus Christ and the four evangelists represent Jesus and express his word. So it’s not strange that they should not go beyond the one of the apse dedicated to Saint Maria. Only some posterior drawings had raised this dome which Gaudí had projected lower.

The 20 m height reduction of this dome is important, because it permits us not to have to lift the fundaments of the apse, built by architect Villar for a different project.

It is also interesting to mention that the texts published in German in the catalogue of the exhibition in Bremen contribute some new aspects about the interest Gaudí has aroused among some of the German architects who dealt with him during the last years of this life. It are little known aspects about Gaudí that show him as a commutative and affable person who posed innovating ideas during conversations, as someone who was capable of self-criticism and able to explain with conceptual clarity the reason for his actions in the Temple and to open his vision about many realities in life a the same time.

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June 2005

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