The architectural style of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia combines both Gothic and Art Nouveau details. However, these styles have been transformed into something uniquely their own by the hands of Gaudi. Walking up from the street, I felt like Dorothy approaching the Emerald City. It has a whimsy about it that I have never seen in any other church during my travels. Inside, the columns and buttresses feel as if you are walking under a canopy of trees. Gaudi’s love of nature is evident inside this amazing structure.
There is a well curated exhibition inside the Basilica about Gaudi’s life, his art and his architecture. I learned that as a young child, he suffered from poor health and in turn spent a lot of time on the grounds of his family home. Gaudi and his mother would roam the family gardens together, discovering the wonders of nature. The Sagrada Familia makes it apparent that he had a deep sense and appreciation for both nature and God, and an undying dedication to his architectural craft.
The construction of the Basilica began in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar. Gaudi became involved in 1883 after Francisco resigned, and he devoted the rest of his life to this important project. Gaudi died in 1926 at the age of 73 with less than a quarter of the project complete. Work on the church continued by the hands of those who worked closely with Gaudi prior to his death, and work still continues to this day. If only in Barcelona for a few hours, this is a must see. It is a transformative experience. If you have more than an hour, the gallery and tribute to his life is icing on the cake.