Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia or Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family is Antonio Gaudi's masterwork.
It is a Roman Catholic church planned initially (1882) as a neo-gothic sanctuary. After disagreements between the founding association and the original architect Francesc del Villar, Gaudi was assigned the project in 1884 and created an entirely new design. He devoted over 40 years of his life and the last 15 entirely to this endeavour.
As the building proceeded higher and higher to the top the style got more and more fantastic with four spindle-shaped towers that can be likened to termite's nests or children's drip sand castles. They are crowned with geometrically shaped tops that are probably under the influence of cubism (they were finished around 1920). There are also many complicated decorations that are said to be in the style of art nouveau.
Gaudi died in 1926 before the church was completed, the towers were originally to be three times higher. Parts of the unfinished building and Gaudi's models and workshop were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Gaudi left no further plans and work on the privately owned church has been episodic. Since 1940 architects Franscesc Quintana, Puig Boada, Lluis Gari have carried on the work. Sculptures by J. Busquets and the controversial Josep Subirachs decorate the fantastical facade.
- Virtual tour including iPix views from the tower bridge at:
- History and recent construction activities at: