Author(s): Gijs van Hensbergen
'Exquisite ... A wonderment of an essay about a wonderment of a building' Paul PrestonIts scaffolding-cloaked spires reach up to the heavens, dominating the Barcelona skyline and drawing in millions of visitors every year. What seduces our attention is perhaps a combination: not only its almost megalomaniac ambition and architectural extravagance but the sheer longevity of its construction. Its creator, Antoni Gaudí, 'God's Architect', saw the first stone laid on 19 March 1882 and yet it is unlikely to be completed until 2026 at the very earliest. It has survived two World Wars, the ravages of the Spanish Civil War and the 'Hunger Years' of Franco's rule. It has defied the critics, the penny-pinching accountants, the conservative town-planners and the slaves to sterile modernism to witness the most momentous changes in society and history. The Sagrada Familia explores the evolution of this remarkable building, working through the decades right up to the present day before looking beyond to the final stretch of its construction. It is at once a guidebook and a chronological history, and a moving and compelling study of man's aspiration towards the divine. Rich in detail, vast in scope, this is a revelatory and authoritative study of a building and its place in history and the genius that created it.