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La Sagrada Familia: The Latest Architecture and News

Sagrada Família to Pay Off $41 Million Debt to Barcelona for Building Permits

The trustees of Barcelona's historic Sagrada Família have reached an agreement with the city council to pay off $41 million in debt for not having the appropriate building permits. As the New York Times reports, the saga has continued for more than a century, as an original building permit issued in 1885 by Sant Martí de Provençals was no longer valid when the town was absorbed into the city of Barcelona. Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in 1882, the Sagrada Família is still under construction 136 years later.

Sagrada Família. Image © Flickr User: haschelsax, bajo CC BY-ND 2.0 Sagrada Família. Image © Renate Dodell Sagrada Família. Image © John Kennan Sagrada Família. Image © Flickr User: Kah-Wai Lin, bajo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 + 7

History's Most Notorious Unfinished Buildings

© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família
© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família

Both today and in centuries past, it is a reality of building that not every project is destined for success. Financial issues or unrealistic timetables can complicate a building’s construction but, while usually the final result eventually meets the initial expectations, other times the worst-case scenario of a building being abandoned during construction becomes a nightmare come true. Unfortunately, these failed projects have an extensive history. Economic factors are the most common cause of unfinished construction, but buildings have also been stranded in limbo by wars, geopolitical shifts, epidemics of disease and other unpredictable obstacles, leaving partial structures as haunting reminders of what might have been.

Whether partially completed and left as ruins or still under construction decades (or centuries) after initial groundbreaking, unfinished buildings offer an alternative history of our built environment, promising long-delayed gratification or examples of design so ambitious that they prove impossible to realize. Initiated by civilizations across the globe, the following list details just a few examples of history’s most interesting and infamous unfinished construction projects.

Image by Ilya Ilusenko <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palace_Of_Soviets_8.JPG'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain) © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/4675714481'>Flickr user hisgett</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> © Raphael Olivier © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tourists_posing_at_the_National_Monument_of_Scotland.jpg'>Wikimedia user Colin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a> + 12

Construction of Sagrada Família Accelerated by 3-D Printing Technology

As reported by the BBC, construction of Antoni Gaudí's already 133-year-old Sagrada Família in Barcelona is now being accelerated by one of the most modern technologies around: 3-D printing. As a matter of fact, the construction process in Barcelona has been utilizing 3-D printing for 14 years, introducing the technology in 2001 as a way of speeding up the prototyping of the building's many complex components.

The process uses powder-based stereolithographic 3-D printers, which build prototypes layer-by-layer, resulting in a material similar to plaster. This is important to the workshop at the Sagrada Família, because it allows craftsmen to easily alter the prototypes by hand, to meet the demanding specifications of the building.

Students Head To Finland To Construct Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

A team of from Eindhoven University are set to build a forty metre high model of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia out of 'ice'. The project, which follows their completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. The fifty-strong team will head to Finland on the 28th December 2014 to begin construction of the impressive 1:5 scale model, which will be built in only four weeks in order to officially open in the last week of January 2015.

Read about their unique construction method and see photos of the preparatory work after the break.

Gaudí's Sagrada Família To Reach Another Milestone

The Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona have laid out their planned milestones for the forthcoming year, visualising it in a short film that begins to piece together Antoni Gaudí's incredible vision. The Sacristy and Raking Cornice will be constructed between this year and next, while new stained glass windows will be installed flooding the interior spaces with evermore coloured light.

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí's Sagrada Familia From Ice

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí's Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world's biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, "the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher." Find out more about the project here.

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas

Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella
Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella

From September 29th to December 8th, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Toni Cumella will be open. His works in ceramic have been utilised by architects such as Enric Miralles, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, or Jean Nouvel. These collaborations made his material became part of the image of Barcelona, being part of the construction of La Sagrada Familia, and the restoration of Casa Batlló and Parc Güell.

Focusing on the 4 main fabrication processes in use at Ceramica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects.

Pushing La Sagrada Família Forward

Our newest addition to the site, our AD Classics, highlight impressive and innovative buildings spanning the course of history. While we are continually fascinated by Kahn’s National Assembly Building of Bangladesh (1982) or SOM’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (1963), what about works that date even farther back….before Corbusier’s Unite d’ Habitation (1952) and Mies’ Farnsworth House (1951); before the Eames House (1945) and Wright’s Unity Temple (1905). Dating back to the 1880s, Antoni Gaudí devoted over a decade of his life to one of Barcelona’s, and the architecture world’s, most prized structures, la Sagrada Família. The cathedral has remained under construction for hundreds of years as debates concerning whether or not its current state is too far from the original vision continually spark controversy. Yet, this Sunday, as the NY Times reported, Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral to consecrate the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. The visit spurred hundreds of workers to prepare the church in an effort to highlight the newest “ latest architectural and artistic features”.

More after the break.