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Sagrada Familia
Plaça de la Sagrada Família, Mallorca, 401, 08013
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Built: 1882-2026
Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Structural Engineer: Antoni Gaudi

The Sagrada Familia will be the largest cathedral in the world after its completion in 2026. The cathedral incorporates a gothic style while introducing more contemporary methods of construction and design through the use of 3D modeling. Not only does the Sagrada Familia function as a cathedral, but it also holds the tomb of the Architect Antoni Gaudi as well as a museum underground dedicated to informing the public of the construction process of the cathedral from day one.

Original drawing by Antoni Gaudi of a longitudinal section through the church in it’s completed form.

Floor plan of the Sagrada Familia in the traditional Christian shape of a cross. The Nativity Facade is to the right, the Passion Facade to the left, and the altar near the center.

This photo shows how Gaudi planned, formed, and calculated the Sagrada Familia. He uses strings, ties, and weights to simulate the columns and shape of the cathedral under complete tension. By flipping the image vertically, the columns in tension are changed to compression.

This is the Facade of the Nativity. Gaudi studied how melting wax ran down, settled and formed on lit candles to complete the design of the facade. Each of the four towers behind the facade have stairs that spiral around a very narrow space from bottom to top. (1)

This photo shows the Facade of the Passion. After Gaudi’s death in 1926, architects and engineers studied Gaudi’s plans, notes, and sketches to bring Gaudi’s thoughts to life.

This photo shows how color and light is used to fill the large interior of the cathedral while not completely taking too much attention off the magnificent interior columns.

The interior of the cathedral has columns made of reinforced concrete. Construction of the interior is still in progress, and you can see scaffolding in the background of this photo where workers are finishing the center of the cathedral. When the Sagrada Familia is done, there will be gigantic tower in the center rising 40 feet higher than other towers. (1)

View from one tower looking down on construction of the interior of the Cathedral.

This photo shows an computer analysis of one of the columns in the interior of the church. The base of the column begins with a circle and transforms through various shapes along the height of the column.

First computer drawing of the interior of the Sagrada Familia, based on Gaudi’s drawings and his laws of geometry, structure and proportions. (2)

Programs used in 3D design (3):

– Mechanical Desktop (Autocad application)
– Rhinoceros
– Cadds5
– Catia
– Special programs (generation of hyperbolas, parabolas, spirals…)

3D Modelling:
– 3D plaster solids printer

– Numerical control (CAM)

Sagrada Familia finished in 3D.

Case study by:
Alex Pena
ARE 320k, Fall 2010

Sources (UT Library):
(1) Carandell and Pere Vivas. El Temple De La Sagrada Familia. Sant Lluis: Triangle Postals S.L., 1997.
(2) Bonet, Jordi. The Essential: Gaudi. Barcelona: Portic, 2000.
(3) Sagrada Familia Website

Written by Alex Pena

September 13, 2010 at 1:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized