If all goes as planned, the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, begun in Barcelona, Spain, in 1882, will be completed in 2026. The edifice will reach 558 feet into the sky and become the world’s tallest religious building.
Because Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), the primary architect, believed that nothing manmade should ever be higher than God’s work, the building’s ultimate height will be lower than Montjuïc, the mountain that is Barcelona’s highest point.
One of the world’s most controversial structures, this basilica was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 because of Gaudí’s innovative and artistic ability.
Yet, as Gijs Van Hensbergen notes in The Sagrada Família, George Orwell considered the church “one of the most hideous buildings in the world.” Pablo Picasso detested Gaudí’s work. Salvador Dali, though, called Gaudí “the last great genius of architecture.”
Van Hensbergen wrote Antoni Gaudí, a 2001 biography of the architect.