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These photographs, just like the text, are courtesy of the Sagrada Familia Temple Building Committee.

The report is by Dr. Architect Jordi Bonet i Armengol, Head of the Temple architects.

Our collaborator Karlus uses to take photographs of the Gaudí works and Barcelona buildings. If you want to see some of his various topic photographs, tell it to him and he will try to make you happy!

Sagrada Familia
Status of the Construction: Juny 2003

Only four months have passed since our last explanative report of what had been done during the International Gaudí Year, makes that the new items don’t represent any singularity, excepting the great impulse experimented, at the beginning of the Glory Façade, at the limit of the Mallorca street. The problematic arisen by the possible passage of the High Velocity Train, just where the four belfries devoted to the apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew and James must be erected, which will reach the height of 120 metres, has made us to plan actions aimed to prevent so. So that, with the submitting of reports and technical complex studies, with visits and diverse meetings, with the competent technicians and also with the authorities, which promote so and have competence and responsibility. They have being delayed, because of multiple reasons, it seems that we are nearing to have achieved a satisfactory solution to the problem. Namely, to recede the tracing more than a hundred metres away from the Temple, a solution which we hope that, en the moment, may be officially made known, once the definitive project will be finished.

Construction of the cantoría of the apse


Being the concreting of the singing gallery corresponding to five chapels finished, it has been raised the scaffolding which will permit to place the continuation of the steel reinforcements of the columns, which separate the chancel from the ambulatory. It is located 30 metres high and will ease the placing of the 16 metres long bars, which will be used for first time and which solution, mostly, the problems double arrangement of the reinforcements. This is a new technology, which will ease the construction.


Drawing of the stairs of the apse

The construction of the Eastern stair has been advanced, which already surpasses the height of 10 metres, and which permits to see the good appearance of that singular and unknown solution, which Gaudí left us in the corresponding model.

Stairs of the apse

With the work being carried out in the crypt it is expected to level the construction of the western side columns, which, otherwise, prevent going on advancing in the finishing of the apse.
The works, which will allow the access to the crypt by means of a lift have been started. This has involved the replacing of the inner supporting wall of the existing stairs, so as to widen the room for the lift, according with the normative which asks to ease the access to it for the disabled people.

The vault which, provisionally and for more than a century, covered the stair and the aforesaid wall had to be demolished. So as to build the new foundations, which must support that ensemble and which will allow to access, eventually, from the crypt till the height of 55 metres, with the lift and on foot. This task was necessary, because the existing foundations belonged to a project modified by Gaudí, but not yet carried out and it ought to be adapted to the present norms.

It has been necessary to reduce the passing space of the access stair to the crypt, while the works of this operation last and, therefore, to cause new disturbances to the parishioners. Prior to this, the vestry has been moved to the Eastern side and the furniture has been relocated and the services have been improved. The duration of this work, despite the complexity involved, is intended to be very short, although it is difficult that the lift will be ready to use before the end of the present year. Besides, in a parallel way, the current restoration works will be completed.

Bridge of the Passion Façade
By Easter, the Ascension bridge was finished and the volume of the gilt bronze sculpture, nearly 5 metres high was presented, which is being made by sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs.

Also the workshop Sinergy 3D, from Rivesaltes (Rosselló), has made the three poliurethan columns, which correspond to the crowning cyma of the portal, directly parting from the studies and the new technology which has to be used in this difficult ending of the Passion Façade. Whereas Gaudí placed the plaster models of the significant elements of the Nativity Façade, in their corresponding place, before making them in the definitive material. We ought to be completely sure that any error would be made in the execution with stone of this singular colonnade, which consists in 18 different columns.

The rear wall of this ensemble, with the patriarchs and prophets, being sculpted by Subirachs goes on advancing. And, although it will be raised slowly because of the safety problems which the construction involves, it supposes a progress, aiming the idea of being able to finish the Passion Façade, simultaneously to the closing of the Temple vaulting.

The Mercè cloister goes on progressing and its fourth and fifth bays will reach the level of the upper windows already built. It has been decided to impulse this construction so as to free the ramp which leads from the southern corner (Mallorca-Sardenya) to the level of the Temple. And, this way, with this work finished, to leave the parish school area totally finished and, therefore, to win such spaces for the visitors and for the better separation of the working areas. Besides, this will enable to use the crane serving for the building of the Montserrat cloister, which, otherwise, cannot be attended by the great 140 m. high crane, which is the only one which supplies the concrete produced by our own concrete plant, for all the building.

Large windows of the transept
Once the difficulties are overcome, the windows closing the springing of the lantern devoted to the evangelist Matthew have completed their elliptic part. And, this way, the granite gargoyle worked by sculptor Sotoo is being located, which shows the purse and coins which remember and symbolise the apostle who was a tax collector.
Presently, the vaults and railings 45 metres high are being built, placed in that place under the evangelists. In the crossing, the columns, the prolongation and ramification of the porphyry one dedicated to saint Matthew, already reach 45 metres. At the other side, the saint John ones, are being erected. It has been started the railing closing, at that height, the space destined to the organs and it is hoped that, at the end of the year, will be finished the ensemble of vaults and railing of half the crossing.

By the inner Nativity façade side, the vaults with hyperboloids built with the boarded brick technique go on, and the windows of the northern side of the transept are being raised. The scaffolding has been placed to the height of the loftier cranes, so as to be able to place, with any error, the leaning columns which will support the crossing vaults. The appearance of the ensemble seen from this height is really impressing and shows the magnitude of the work, with the difficulties involved by working at such a height.

The vaults with hyperboloids of the bay immediate to the crossing and the springing of the roofs with the lead funnels that collect the rainwater, which are being built. The upper bay linking with the crossing has also been started. The stone for the central nave window gables is being prepared, so as to place the grape and tassel crownings, which have different colours and forms, and are being sculptured by Etsuro Sotoo.

The inner façade of the Glory Façade

It is perhaps the place where the changes being produced during the previous months may be appreciated. The inner façade walls are approaching the “Rood screen” height and the plaster mouldings made by the plaster modellers are being placed to allow the location of the reinforcements and to have all them concretioned before the Summer holidays. The floor level of the Temple has already reached its limit and the storey, at the level of the Mallorca street, has been covered, which will add new space to the Museum. The eight granite columns which support the for belfries, just at the edge of the Mallorca street, arrive now till the Temple level and the their metallic inner cores are visible, reaching a considerable height. The 30 metres high scaffolding and six movable elevating scaffoldings will enable the raising of the cloister with a remarkable speed.

Model to natural scale
The task of making the life-size models, of the railing elements, the “Rood screen” vaults and the apse ones, of the hyperboloids which link the columns and the vaults, etc., is combined with the study of the Glory Façade.
It is a complicated task which, must be continuously revised, to fit the outer part with the inner one, and above all, the junctions of the columns which support the belfries and the complex of hyperboloids of the great porch which, at a height of 30 metres, will spread to a width of 50 metres over the main entrance of the Temple.

We have contributed to prepare models to document the several exhibitions which are continuously being held everywhere; for instance, recently, the models for a sample in Amsterdam, to illustrate the organic architecture, or another ones for the itinerary exhibition Germinabit, which is being shown in all the Catalan bishophrics, etc.

With the covering of the ground floor at the level of the Mallorca street, new surfaces will be available quite soon. They will be destined to house the sculptor Sotoo’s workshop and the widening of the modelmakers’ one and the sculptor Subirachs’s workshop, in such a way that it will eventually be able to be incorporated into the Museum.


Drawing of the large window of the apse
Without the intense work being carried out here, it would not be possible to advance in the ensemble of the works. The structural calculations, the safety at work, the combination of actions will enable the progress of the works with the ordered passing of the visitors. With the incorporation of new technologies in all senses (the use of informatic programs, the studies for cutting directly the stone parting from what is drawn with the computer), to the solutions which allow the correct location the reinforcements, the stone levelling, for the placing of new scaffoldings and the use of new technologies, among them), are a few examples.
Also the drawing and researching that will ease to find the solutions for every detail; the levels and the setting of the axis of the leaning columns without mistakes, etc., are tasks carried out by the Technical Office which may be quoted.

The dedication to the visitors and technicians, interested by all what is done must be added, the lectures which go on being offered in a diversity of places and the lecture of the new publications, which have appeared with the occasion of the International Gaudí Year. They may contribute to a better knowledge to help to the better prosecution of the works. Also can be mentioned the care in getting collaboration conventions, agreements with the universities and the intense dedication to the study of the arguments which have made possible to prevent the passing of the High Speed Train along the tracing initially previewed along the Mallorca street. Today, in definitive, it may be assured that, technically, is being very positively esteemed all around the architecture world the task carried out by the Technical Office in all what refers to geometry research of the ruled forms and all the huge contribution about the genial figure of Antoni Gaudí.

The program goes on so as to achieve the closing of the inner space of the Temple on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the laying of the Foundation Stone. Also an important contribution for the FORUM 2004 has been previewed in the Temple. Namely, to present part of the interior, with the stained glass, the lamps and part of the lighting as studied by Gaudí, of which we have the original models, at 1:10 scale, which are still preserved. Also the inner façade would be intended to be closed till the height of the central nave, to cover the Mercè and Montserrat cloisters, and to leave clear of scaffoldings most of the finial spires of the side façades windows. It is a challenge which, if the good rhythm of economic contributions goes on, it is possible, although it is hard to be assured, despite the efforts and dedication of all who put their enthusiasm and optimism.

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