I have also heard that what they are doing now does not correspond to the original work of Gaudí, so I'm wondering what percent of the work is actually Gaudí's and what percent is the work of other architects? Jordi Baños Fernández
I think it is imposible to compare the work of Gaudí with the work that is being done today. As we are talking about completely different periods of time, the manner of working is extremely different. Gaudí worked on foot, all day long deciding and modifying his work every step of the way. For him there was no routine or repetition. Today, modules are made which are repeated continually. There is an idea of the finished work which has been projected which all of the workers are aware of, whereas Gaudí changed his own project during the course of working on it.
At the projectural level, the work of Gaudí is principal, however, when discussing actual work on the temple, the work of other architects leaves the work of Gaudí far behind, beginning with Villar, continuing with Quintana, Sugrañes, Puig Boada, Bonet Garí, Bonet Armengol, Cardoner, Faulí, etc. All of them have actually constructed much more than Gaudí did, but projecturally/theoretically, most of the work is Gaudí's.
- I have heard that in order to finish Sagrada Familia, they will have to tear down the block to the west of Calle Mallorca, that the cars will have to pass underneath a bridge, and that the main entrance to the church will open up to Calle Valencia. Is this True? Jordi Baños Fernández
It is true, although we don't really know exactly how this work will be when it is finished. Evidently, all of that is necessary in order to carry out a facade that contains the correct visuals. In the urban plan which has been approved by the City of Barcelona, not only would that one block have to be destroyed, but all of the buildings down to Diagonal as well. This can still change, however, and therefore, we consider it more of a hypothesis. The accepted plan states that the destruction of the buildings down to Diagonal will be carried out simultaneously and at the same rate as the construction of the Glory Facde.
- Is it true that they have had to hire a North-American company to finish up the construction of the temple? There was no Spanish company that could have done the work for less money? Jordi Baños Fernández
I don't know of any North-American company working on Sagrada Familia. They're all Catalonian companies.
- If Park Güell was intended by Gaudí to be a small city, why were they not able to finish it? Jordi Baños Fernández
This is interesting. They weren't able to finish it because of the sales. Gaudí planned for it to be a small city, but then only two plots of land were sold - one of which was bought by the Trias family and the other was bought by Gaudí himself because no one else bought it. The builder (Pardo) convinced Gaudí to buy the house so as not to lose the work he had built.
- What do you think of iniciatives like the one in Llinars del Vallés to reconstruct Gaudí's Miranda? Do you think this is a good way to potentiate the rehabilitations or reconstructions of the fabulous modernist structures in Barcelona? Jordi Baños Fernández
No, I think that the case of the Miranda is distinct in that this is a building which was totally destroyed in the '60s and now an association of neighbors and enthusiasts who need a civic center as a cultural effort for the town have decided to reconstruct this project with more or less the original plan. We hope that they will some day rebuid this work, but with the right criteria.
This is not an issue of restoration, but rather of reconstruction. In the vain of restoration, I think that the Eixample of Barcelona has quite a few examples of works that have been restored and well-conserved; I think there is a more grave problem, which is that of maintenance - a theme which should be studied - the way to be able to conserve that patrimony without having it deteriorate or lose pieces along the way. It would be nice if this could be done in such a way that it wouldn't be necessary to carry out more new restorations, because, lamentably, in every restoration so far, we have lost parts of the original buildings.
- Colonia Güell: Is it true the Gaudí constructed a model of the chapel consisting of small bags of sand hanging from the roof to verify the distribution of the weight in order to avoid having the roof collapse? The truth is that the ceiling seems like it's about to fall!! Alvaro Bertrand
Yes, Gaudí constructed a model with strings and bags of shot (not sand) in order to be able to evaluate the weights that the various arcs would have to support. But, the roof was never at risk of falling, despite that the work is unfinished and lacking many of the supports, because Gaudí thought that if these supports were one day added the structure would slowly change, and the building would move, without losing it's overall stability. The engineers, based on rules they had studied in school, thought that if the supports were added, the corresponding weight would put the building at danger of collapsing, which is demostrated by Gaudí's original idea. Gaudí did some very complex structural calculations with what he saw to be all of the potentials of distinct times, so that the construction could be continued for 20 or 30 years without any structural danger. The construction, however, was not continued. Fortunately, they are still not going to continue with it; I say fortunately because of what is happening with Sagrada Familia - it is becoming less a work of Gaudí's than a collection of work by various architects.
At the moment, they are carrying out a heavy restoration of Colonia Güell, intending to leave alone the parts which were built by Gaudí. It's been over 70 years that no one has touched the roof. Now it has been cleaned and an interesting new covering has been built which will permit the water to flow perfectly and people will be able to walk on top without even touching Gaudí's original roof.
Thank you very much Luis for anserwing our questions and good luck with "The Year of Gaudí"! :)