To this day, nothing has or possibly ever will compare to my time spent inside La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. Not to be too dramatic, but it was life changing in its own way. The experience was a series of moments filled with such deep beauty and awe that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Ok. That is a little dramatic, but it is entirely true.
I suppose architecture will always be a deep love for me. I dedicated so much of my life to studying the craft and working in the practice of design. It is now an engrained part of who I am, and how I process the world. And, for me, Antonio Gaudi was one of the biggest influencers on my understanding of architecture, and its place in history.
Gaudi's work was... well... "gaudy," but more than that, it was revolutionary. (And, yes, in case you were wondering, he is where we get the word from). He did something that truly no one else had ever done before and at a time when staunch aristocrats could not see what he saw. And, what he saw, was La Sagrada Familia. With that said, I was DYING to go inside the church. I just had to. I had prepared myself to do whatever was necessary to get tickets. I would have named my first born child Gaudi if I had to. Luckily, it didn't come to that.
My whole life I had heard my grandmother's stories of Notre Dame and the Prague Cathedral both of which I am grateful to have later visited, but neither of which compared to La Sagrada Família. I genuinely cannot put into words what I felt at the first sight of the inside of this basilica. I took one step into the church and stood with my mouth open, in complete and utter awe. I felt almost unworthy to continue into the space. I didn't know where to begin, what to look at first, or how to take it all in. It was an inspiration overload that I am still feeding off of.
Visiting La Sagrada at the end of the day was the absolute perfect time to visit, because the cathedral was designed with the sunlight in mind. Half of the church is covered with green and blue stained glass windows intended to cascade those colors at the start of the day. The other half is filled with red, yellow, and orange stained glass that collectively fills the entire church with a warm glow at sunset. And, we were just in time to see this performance of light.
How is it possible that Gaudi saw all of this in his mind? How did he have this vision, this dream of a space? Every single detail is designed to take your breath away and it does. The decades of craftsmanship and care that have gone into building this icon is astounding. It has been under construction since 1882, and it is still under construction with a proposed completion date of somewhere between 2026-2028. New bucket list goal: re-visit La Sagrada Familia 2028.