T he "S agrada F amília"
Gaudí officially signed his first plans as construction manager in December, 1884; they were the plans of the elevation and altar section of the Capilla de San José (Chapel of St. Joseph). Its construction was swift and on March 19, 1885, it was inaugurated, offering the first mass on the following day.
Once the crypt was finished Gaudí planned the apse, in which he was forced to base his plan on the gothic style which Villar had used in the first project. Gaudí always said that gothic architecture did not provide a definitive solution to the problem of the thrusts on the arches and vaults; it only made it appear that the walls held the weight, because in reality it fell upon the flying buttresses, which were like the crutches of a cripple. In addition, these flying buttresses were outside the building, that is, at the mercy of the elements, which quickened their deterioration. The Sagrada Familia would not have been such a great monument of new architecture if flying buttresses had been used. Gaudí concentrates the weight on the supporting elements-the columns, that is-and he uses one material or another depending on the weight they have to support.
Gaudí imagined a church in the form of a Latin cross over the initial crypt; above the crypt, the major altar, surrounded by seven chapels in the apse dedicated to the seven pains and the seven sins of St. Joseph, and in each of them there would be a representation of the Holy Family. Across from the altar there would be two great doors at the ends, of the Nativity and the Passion. This transept is composed of three naves. It follows perpendicularly the central body of the temple, composed of five naves and closed by the colossal monument that will be the Façade of the Glory or the main entrance to the temple, by Mallorca street.
The entire creation is surrounded by cloisters that are used for processions, and isolate the temple from the noise of the city. Next to the presbytery is the sacristy, and centered between them, exactly in the axis of the major altar, the Chapel of the Assumption. Inside the temple would include ample galleries for singers with capacity for several thousand voices.
Above each façade there will be four towers, 12 in total, which will be dedicated to the Apostles. The tower in the center, the tallest of all at 170 m., will be dedicated to Jesus Christ. Around these will be the towers of the four Evangelists, and the tower over the apse will be dedicated to the Virgin.
The towers have a parabolic
profile and include helicoidal
stairways which allow the middle
part to be hollow, for the placement
of tubular bells placed as carillon,
whose sound should combine with
the voices of the choirs. There
will be three types: the ordinary,
tuned to the notes of mi, sol,
do; the tubular, which will
sound as percussion, and others,
also tubular, that will sound
through injected air. Gaudi
spent more than four years studying
the sound of these bells so
that they would sound as well