Sagrada Família

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View from the Casa Milà in September  2009
(cranes digitally removed)

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (English: Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, Spanish: Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia; Catalan pronunciation: [səˈɣraðə fəˈmiɫiə]), commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site,[3] and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.[4][5][6]

Though construction of Sagrada Familia had commenced in 1882, Gaudi took over in 1883, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style — combining Gothic and curvilinear, Art Nouveau forms[7] with ambitious structural columns and arches.[8][9]

Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.[10] Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War — only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining[10] and an anticipated completion date of 2026 — the centennial of Gaudí's death.

The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona — over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudi's design itself,[11] over the possibility that work after Gaudi's death disregarded his design, [11] and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed train could disturb its stability.[12]

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