HISTORY OF THE BASÍLICA

The Sagrada Família is a one-of-a-kind temple, for its origins, foundation and purpose. Fruit of the work of genius architect Antoni Gaudí, the project was promoted by the people for the people. Five generations now have watched the Temple progress in Barcelona. Today, more than 135 years after the laying of the cornerstone, construction continues on the Basilica.

The Sagrada Família is a truly exceptional temple, the result of the work of genius architect Antoni Gaudí. Today, more than 135 years after the laying of the cornerstone, construction continues on the Basilica.

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MAIN MILESTONES

1882
Project designed by Francisco de Paula del Villar.
Original design for the project for the Sagrada Família by diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar following the prevailing guidelines of the time, with neo-Gothic elements: ogival windows, buttresses, flying buttresses and a pointed bell tower. Technical differences, about the cost of materials, led this architect to be replaced with another who was starting to stand out in the field, Antoni Gaudí, who took the project in a different direction, transforming it into an ambitious proposal for the church of the future.
On 19 March, Bishop Urquinaona lays the cornerstone of the Temple.
1883
Antoni Gaudí takes over the project, while still working on other buildings.
1885
Chapel of Saint Joseph inaugurated in the crypt and first masses held.
1891
Work begins on the Nativity façade.
1914
Antoni Gaudí begins working exclusively on the Temple, until his death.
1925
Saint Barnabas bell tower on the Nativity façade is completed.
The bell tower dedicated to the apostle Barnabas was the only one Gaudí would see finished.
1926
Gaudí dies and his disciple Domènec Sugranyes takes over the project.
1936
La Sagrada Família is vandalised during the Spanish Civil War. Plans and photographs are burnt and the plaster models, smashed.
1939
Francesc de Paula Quintana takes over site management, which is able to go on thanks to the material that could be saved from Gaudí’s workshop and that was reconstructed from published plans and photographs.
1952
Staircase on the Nativity façade is built, and the façade is lit up for the first time.
1954
Foundation laid for the Passion façade.
1955
The first collection is held.
1958
On 19 March, the feast of Saint Joseph, a sculpture group representing the Holy Family is put in place, created by Jaume Busquets.
1961
Museum created to explain historical, technical, artistic and symbolic aspects of the Temple to visitors.
1966
Francesc de Paula Quintana dies and Isidre Puig i Boada and Lluís Bonet i Garí take over.
1977
Bell towers on the Passion façade completed.
1978
Construction begins on the façades on the side naves.
1983
Francesc Cardoner i Blanch takes over the project.
1985
Jordi Bonet i Armengol is named head architect and site manager.
1986
Josep Maria Subirachs is commissioned to make the sculpture groups for the Passion façade.
1986
Work began on the foundations for all the naves, the columns, vaults and façades on the main nave, transepts, crossing and apse. The works were completed in 2010.
Until the middle of the 20th century, construction was still done using wood scaffolding. A far cry from the means used today.
2005
The Nativity façade and crypt are named UNESCO world heritage.
2010
On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the Basilica for religious worship and designated it a minor basilica.
2011
2010 Barcelona City Award in Architecture and Urban Planning goes to the Temple nave.
2012
Jordi Faulí takes over from Jordi Bonet as head architect and site manager for the works on the Temple of the Sagrada Família, which carry on according to Antoni Gaudí’s plans.
2016
Construction begins on the towers of the Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
Work is completed on the western sacristy and the cloister of Our Lady of Dolours.
2018
July 2018 The Cross is placed on top of the pediment of the Passion façade.
2019
The first stone panels arrive for the tower of Jesus Christ, the tower of the Evangelists and the tower of the Virgin Mary and they start to take shape.
2020
February 2020 The tower of Jesus Christ and the tower of the Virgin Mary surpass the height of the towers on the Passion and Nativity façades.
March 2020 The Junta Constructora de la Sagrada Família stops construction due to the Covid-19 healthcare emergency.
October 2020 Work resumes, focusing on completing the tower of the Virgin Mary, with all the levels of panels in place and only the elements of the 25-metre pinnacle remaining, which will be crowned with a shining twelve-pointed star.
2021
In 2021 all efforts focus on finishing the tower of the Virgin Mary, the Basilica’s second tallest at 138 metres.
In April 2021, construction began on the shaft, the middle part of the pinnacle of the tower of the Virgin Mary, which is 18 metre tall and starts from six legs and ends in three arms that hold up the luminous star. During this month, the formwork and reinforcement for the lower third of the shaft was put in place, a piece measuring 10.8 metres tall that clearly changes the city's skyline, since it raises the tower to a height of 127 metres. It is the longest piece (10.80 metres) that has been raised so far on the Sagrada Família.
In July 2021, the shaft was covered with trencadís mosaic. The lower part of the shaft is now in place. The upper and lower part of the shaft are covered with artistic ceramic stoneware trencadís mosaic in colours ranging from blue to white with a few scattered pieces of golden Venetian mosaic.
In September 2021, the upper third of the shaft of the tower of the Virgin Mary was put in place. With the upper third of the tower of the Virgin Mary put in place, the tower reaches 134 metres.
In December, the twelve-pointed star will be placed on top of the shaft, which will illuminate the city of Barcelona.

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