Posted by: David Stewart | November 17, 2012

Sagrada Familia

One of the last studio albums that classic progressive rock band “The Alan Parsons Project” produced was called “Gaudi” in 1987. It’s not amongst their better known works, but I was captivated by it. Think of it, an amazing architect, Antonio Gaudi, whose greatest work was never finished in his lifetime. And in 1987 it was thought that it would never be finished.

“Who knows where the road will lead us, only a fool would say
Who knows if we’ll meet along the way
Follow the brightest star as far as the brave may dare
What will we find when we get there?”
— La Sagrada Familia, The Alan Parsons Project, 1987

Then, 25 years later, I was able to stand on the steps of La Sagrada Familia. Far from being abandoned, it is now the most recognizable landmark of the Barcelona skyline and might actually be finished some time mid-century. Since the album release, the project has been able to attract enough private contributions to enclose the main sanctuary and complete two of the three facades.
La Sagrada Familia

There are many other fine examples of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona, but the Sagrada Familia is definitely his magnum opus, his great work. When asked when it would ever be finished, Gaudi would reply, “My client is in no hurry. God has all the time in the world.”

“The Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family” is the official name and is not actually the main cathedral of Barcelona. The building seems rather stuck in the middle of a neighborhood densely packed with 6-story apartment buildings. So as you approach the site from the ground, the building comes as a complete surprise.

Experts talk about the link Gaudi’s work has with nature. To me, the exterior outline looks more like melted chocolate than anything in nature. But one morning before dawn, I was running past the site. I caught a glimpse of the silhouettes of the dark bell towers and I thought for a moment it was a grove of cypress tress before I realized what I was looking at.

The famous profile of the church does not prepare you for the amazing art throughout the building, both inside and out, very little actually done by Gaudi himself.

  • The Nativity Facade, dedicated to Jesus’ birth, has a very classic, almost 19th century feel to it.

La Sagrada Familia

  • The Passion Facade, on the opposite side, is dedicated to the last days of Jesus’ life. And it has an opposite feel to the artwork, being quite angular and 1960’s in style.

La Sagrada Familia


  • The interior is open and plays with light and color.

La Sagrada FamiliaLa Sagrada Familia

  • The Glory Facade is, well, unfinished. Nobody yet knows what it will look like.

I’m happy to have seen the church today in its state of ongoing create. I hope I can see it completed in my lifetime.



  1. Great coverage of this beautiful sight that we visited last week.

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