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

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Sagrada Familia
Status of the Construction: December 2003


Report of the works
By Jordi Bonet i Armengol
Head Architect and Co-ordinator

At the end of the present year 2003, the most outstanding fact that can be shown is the progress of the erection of the Glory Façade. The eight columns of the Beatitudes have reached the height of 12 metres over the Mallorca street level and the seven access portals to the Temple are outlined, being them centered by the one which simbolises the Eucharist and that petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Our daily bread, give us today o Lord”. There is also progress in the transept, the crossing, the apse and in the cloister, despite being it now hard to see the results.


© T.S.F.

The works which will enable the access to the crypt with lift are very advanced. The inner existing supporting wall of the staircase has been replaced, what widens the room for the lift, following the standards ordering to ease the access for the handicapped.

The provisory vault, which once covered the staircase, has been demolished and the new foundations have been laid to carry the winding stair, which will eventually enable the access, parting from the crypt, until the height of 55 metres, either by lift or on foot.

Stair of the crypt

During these works, the walking space of the access stair to the crypt has been reduced, what has caused new disturbances to the parishioners. This task, in spite of the complexity involved, hasn’t been very long, although the lift isn’t yet into operation. At the same time, the current restoration works have been completed, and the windows giving light to the ambulatory have been partly re-opened.


© T.S.F.

The vaults and the railing of the choir loft, which correspond to five chapels are visible, amidst the scaffolding. Besides, the columns which carry the windows, which close the ambulatory, and the vaults placed at 30 metres are being raised.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

Stair of the apse

The apse at works

The building of the Eastern staircase surpasses the height of 15 metres, and we can see the pretty appearance of this singular solution by Gaudí, with the columns and the open ending of the lift space. The building of the ten columns in the centre of the chancel is over and the knots with the supporting reinforcements are being placed, which carry the the apse vaults and the columns, which will soar until 30 metres.

It must be remarked that the knots or capitals have been made thanks to of a new technology, which has enabled to cut directly the granite stone with the computer, with new shapes. It has been a complex task, which has required a considerable technical effort, for it has been carried out something never been done before. We hope that the experience thus been achieved now will eventually allow the cutting of the 18 columns of the Passion Façade attic.


The figure of the Ascension of Jesus has been put in place, to show the volume of the sculpture, which, in gilt bronze and being nearly 5 metres tall. It is being sculptured by the sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs.

The three polyuretane columns have also been put in place, which correspond to the crowning cornice of the Passion Façade portico, with the aim of checking if they fit the appearance which Gaudí left in his drawings. We had to be sure that any mistake is done during the execution in stone of this singular colonnade which consists in 18 different columns.

The raising of the patriarchs’ and prophets’ wall is being prepared, with the reliefs sculptured by Subirachs.


© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.
© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© T.S.F.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

It may be appreciated a basalt column -left- and one of the four
main porphyr ones -right-, which symbolizes one of the evangelists.

View of the central nave with the apse in the background. The different materials of the columns (porphyr,basalt, granite and concrete) and the variety of capitals may be clearly appreciated

Transept vaults

Stained glass in a transept aisle window

The large windows, which close the springing of the lantern, dedicated to the evangelist Matthew, are being raised, with the granite gargoyle carved by the sculptor Sotoo.

The vaults and railings, sited in this space, 45 metres high, are being built. In the crossing, the columns, which are the extension and ramification of the porphyr ones, are being built. They are dedicated to the evangelists John, Luke and Mark, and which have already reached that height.

The railing, at that height, closing the space destined for the organs, has been started, but it has not been possible, at he ending of the year, to finish the ensemble of vaults and the railing of half the crossing.

In the inner face of the Nativity Façade advance the vaults with their hyperboloids built out of boarded brick vault and the windows of the northern side of the transept are being erected.

From a height of 60 metres, the appearance of this ensemble is impressing and it shows the magnitude of the work. Another bay of the high vault has been finished and work in the central nave window crownings progresses. They bear the raceme of grapes with the chalice and the wheat ears with the host, of which Gaudí left the 1:10 scale models, being presently carried out by sculptor Sotoo.


© T.S.F.

The Mercè Cloister goes on advancing and the five already vaulted bays are being levelled. It is previwed to finish its roofing before Easter, and this way being able move there the souvenirs shop. The stone for the roofing of three bays of the Montserrat and Sant Jordi Cloister is also being prepared now, and from then on, to erect their windows, vaults and roofs.

Cloister vaults


© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

Present ending of the naves, while the main
façade is being built

Eastern side of the aisle, seen from the exterior of the Temple.

A piece of the ramificating ribs of the aisle vaults

The hiperboloid vaults of the bay next to the crossing have been built, and also the springing of the roofs with their lead funnels, which collect the rainwater.

The upper linking bay with the crossing has also been started. It advances the task of placing the stone in the gables of the central nave windows so as to place there the crownings with the raceme of grapes and the wheat ears, which have different colours and shapes, being them done by Etsuro Sotoo, the first of which is already in place. The attic vaults of the first bay of the central nave have been closed.


© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© T.S.F.

Last bay of the aisle and
works in the Glory Façade

The Mallorca street,
where the construction
of the Glory Façade
has just been started

Central nave and aisles
and the beginning of the
Glory Façade, seen from
the Mallorca street

The "Jube" in the Glory Façade

© T.S.F.

The change being recently produced in this zone is very important. With the building of the “Jube”, the eight granitic stone columns which carry the four belfries, just in the limit of the Mallorca street, have reached the height of 12 metres. The building of the walls, with the help of the six sliding scaffoldings to erect the closing wall, which goes on advancing with speed. The construction of the central choir loft will start soon. It will unite the already built ones, on both sides of the naves.

Columns of the
Glory Façade



© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

Preparing of the life-size models of the choir lofts railings

Lifesize plaster models of
several parts of the Temple

The task of making the life-size models goes on, of the railings elements and the side vaults of the “Jube”, the ones of the apse, the hyperboloids of the columns with the vaults, etc., and also, the research in the Glory Façade goes on, which has to be revised so as to adjust its inner and outer part. The linkings of the supporting columns of the belfries and the ensemble of hyperboloids in the great portico, projected by Gaudí, having a width of 50 metres over the main entrance to the Temple, advance thanks to the efforts of architects and modelmakers.

Once the floor at the level of the Mallorca street has been covered, the new surfaces destined to offices, to the sculptor Sotoo’s workshop and to the widening of the modelmakers’ one are already visible, which, together with the sculptor Subirachs’s workshop, will be eventually incorporated into the Museum.

The task of cleaning and the study of the original fragments from the Gaudí’s original models goes on, what furnishes new discoverings. For instance, it has been recently checked, thanks to the original mould found shortly, that research and geometry enable to get right, without any sort of error, what Gaudí had projected and all what was already built two years ago. It must be highlighted how progress the prototypes of the lamps which will illuminate the naves and other decorative elements, such as the monstrances, which Gaudí had placed at the top part of the choir lofts.

On the other hand, the task of inventorying the original fragments of models, taking photographs of every fragment and its corresponding index card has started. This task appears to be long, given that it is thought to exist more than 10.000 fragments.


© T.S.F.

© T.S.F.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.

© Gaudí & Barcelona Club.
Built draining Channel Original found mould

The welders prepare the
template to build the brick
hyperboloids of the
central nave

Fruit Crowning of the
aisle pinnacles

The intense task of the technical personnel, acting in several places goes on: in the Passion and Glory Façades, in the cloisters, in the roofs, in the crossing, in the transept and the apse.

As progress is done in the apse in height, there surge new difficulties provoked by different reasons, from the settlings till the problems caused by what was left unfinished more than a century ago, passing through the relatively important irregularities of every chapel, which render difficult their linking with the geometry of the new gaudinist architecture, which must fit with the existing Neo-gothic forms.

The bevelling drawings of the apse windows and the central nave crownings, and of the constructive solutions of the roofs have been finished. Finally, it has been solved the intersection of the ambulatory vaults at 30 metres of height and work progresses in the linking passage of the stairs and the apse lifts, a passage which will communicate with the ones ascending in the interior of the two lanterns of the evangelists Mark and Luke.

In the Glory Façade research goes on with the intersections and the shape, which carries the hyperboloids above the 30 metres.

The project for the illumination of the Passion Façade has been studied, and the top part of its cornice is being developed, which will be able soon to be transferred to the modelmakers’ hands to check its effect in the 1:25 scale model.


© Gaudí & Barcelona Club. © Gaudí & Barcelona Club. © Gaudí & Barcelona Club. © T.S.F.

General view of the works, where it may be appreciated, in the centre, the beginning of the crossing, at the height of 60 metres.

Granite elements, awating to receive
its definitive shape

Figure of the Ascension

In general, the previewed planning has been fulfilled and, therefore, the illusion to achieve, in 2007, the covering of the inner space of the Temple and, the next year, to present the Western transept with its windows and lamps, which will render a very real idea of what the Temple will be within a space which surface is some 400 m2, goes on. Therefore, all the space in the Passion Vestibule will remain totally unobstructed, and the access to the interior of the transept will be possible through the proper place, that is, an important improvement of the circulations will be achieved.

The Mercè Cloister will be finished by Easter 2004 and a new shop will be opened in the next June collection, together with the crownings of four or five sets, with their Venetian glass colours, which will be visible without the obstacle of the scaffolding, so that there will be a more complete view at the height of 60 metres.

We hope to place the image of the Ascension of Jesus Christ before the Summer, if there won’t surge any difficulties in the casting and gilding of such an exceptional piece. The finishing of the «Jube» triforium and the construction of the central part of the choir lofts spanning over the enclosure wall will also improve the circulation of the visitors.

Finally, it has also been previewed the improvement of the environment and the outer closing of the Mallorca street, and also the finishing of all the spaces surrounding the schools and the access ramp to the Temple level.

Jordi Bonet i Armengol
Chief and Co-ordinating Architect
December 2003

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