CLOSE

9 Stunning Facts About La Sagrada Familia

The stunning La Sagrada Família is a must-see for any tourist passing through Barcelona. The towering, still-under-construction basilica is beloved architect Antoni Gaudí’s most celebrated work. The building of this ornamental wonder began in 1882 and is currently ongoing. Though it is the most visited monument in Spain, welcoming more than three million visitors each year, La Sagrada Família is still very much a place of worship—so much so that Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church in 2010. The Temple holds Sunday mass once every couple of months, and there are special visiting hours for The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and Penitence, which is reserved for prayer.

Whether you visit La Sagrada Família to take in its intricate and fascinating design, or as part of a holy pilgrimage, it is truly a wonder to behold. Below are 9 things you might not have heard about Spain's ultimate attraction.

Getty Images

1. The first completed facade is titled The Birth of Christ and within this facade are three portals: "The Portal of Hope," "The Portal of Mercy," and "The Portal of Faith." The faces on "The Portal of Mercy" are actually sculpted from the death masks of diseased Barcelona citizens, as well as builders of La Sagrada Família—it was Gaudí’s way of paying tribute to these people.

2. La Sagrada Família will take longer to complete than the Egyptian pyramids. It started in 1882 and is hoped to be completed in 2026 (the centennial of Gaudí’s death), though it might not be finished until as late as 2040. The Great Pyramid, by comparison, only took 20 years.

3. The project was first commissioned for Francisco Del Vilar by the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. He built the crypt, but after creative disagreements he dropped the site and it was passed over to Gaudí.

4.  Gaudí disliked straight lines and angles because they don't often appear naturally. Instead, he based his design on the swirling curves of nature.

5. There is endless natural symbolism within La Sagrada Família. The interior structure is supported by large pillars that look like trees. One pillar has a turtle at its base, and another a tortoise in order to show the balance between land and sea.

6. Gaudí didn’t just use the natural world for inspiration; he used it to develop architectural techniques. Gaudí analyzed plants, animals, and geothermal formations to see how they naturally supported shapes and weight. The orbit of the stars was used to design the helicoidal columns.

7. Gaudí believed that no man-made object should be constructed higher than the work of God. Therefore, La Sagrada Família, when completed, will tower at 170 meters (560 ft), which was intended to be one meter less than Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuïc hill.

8. In 1936, a group of anarchists and revolutionaries set fire to the crypt and destroyed the workshop which contained all of the plans and models—thankfully a scarce few were saved.

9. The holy place was built to be seen from all points of the city. It has glass mosaics at its highest points, which when reflected by sun or moonlight act as beacons to guide seafarers home.

Original image
iStock
arrow
architecture
High-Tech Skyscrapers Could be Built with Low-Tech Wood
Original image
iStock

When we think of wood construction, we often think of log cabins, tree houses, or the framework of residential properties. But if a new start-up has its way, we might soon be gazing up at 12-story buildings made almost entirely out of Douglas firs.

In a report for CityLab, journalist Amanda Kolson Hurley profiled Portland, Oregon's Lever Architecture, a firm attempting to revitalize wood-based towers that reduce the carbon footprints of conventional buildings. Their offices are located in a four-story property made from wood; their next major project, titled Framework, is expected to be 12 stories and slated to debut in Portland in 2019.

Part of Lever’s goal is to reduce concerns over wooden structures—namely, that they’re prone to fire hazards or might not be structurally sound in an earthquake. Developers use a building material called mass timber, a special type of strengthened wood in which timber panels are glued together to make beams and cross-set layers for walls and floors. Fire tests have shown the mass timber doesn’t ignite easily: It chars, which can insulate the rest of the panel from the heat. Strength testing has shown the layers aren’t easily jostled by outside forces.

Lever’s architects hope that wooden buildings will lessen the environmental impact of commercial towers that use concrete and steel, which are responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions during their manufacturing.

Other firms have designs on taller buildings, including one 35-story tower in Paris and a 24-story building in Vienna.

[h/t CityLab]

Original image
arrow
architecture
Need a Dose of Green? Sit Inside This Mossy Auditorium
Original image

Lecture halls aren’t known for being picturesque, but a new venue for lectures and events in Taipei might change that reputation. Inside, it looks like a scene from The Jungle Book.

As Arch Daily alerts us, a new lecture space at the JUT Foundation features textile art that makes it look like its interiors are entirely covered in moss.

The JUT Foundation is the arts-focused wing of a Taipei construction company called the JUT Group, and its gallery hosts talks and other events related to art and architecture. Designed by the Netherlands-based architects MVRDV, the 2500 square feet of greenery-inspired lecture hall is lined with custom carpeting designed to look like moss and biologically inspired textiles by the Argentinean artist Alexandra Kehayoglou.

A close-up of green, yellow, and red textiles fashioned to look like moss

A view of the back of an auditorium that looks like it's covered in green moss

Made of recycled threads from a carpet factory, the handmade 3D wall coverings pop out in a passable imitation of a forest ecosystem. The mossy design—which took a year to complete—pulls double duty as a sound buffer, too, minimizing the echo of the space. If you have to pack into a lecture hall with 175 other people, at least you’ll be able to pretend you’re in the middle of a quiet, peaceful forest.

[h/t Arch Daily]

All images courtesy the JUT Group.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios