Cathedrals take a long time to build. One hundred and eighty-two years passed between the groundbreaking and the completion of Paris's Notre Dame. For the Cologne Cathedral, in Germany, it took 632 years to finally finish everything up. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of the pioneering Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, is still going up in Barcelona 131 years after it started — nor that it's only set to be completed in 2026.
Now the architects tasked with finishing the basilica have published this animation of what the church will look like when the famously unconventional building is finally finished:
Construction started in 1882 on the church, which is designated a "minor basilica" instead of a "cathedral," since the latter must be the seat of a bishop. The Sagrada Familia has long been a polarizing piece of architecture: U.S. skyscraper pioneer Louis Sullivan called it "the greatest piece of creative architecture in the last twenty-five years," whereas George Orwell thought it "one of the most hideous buildings in the world."
Since Gaudí's tragic death-by-tram in 1926, nine different architects have taken the helm of the project. Complicating their work is the fact that the detailed plans that Gaudí left behind were destroyed 10 years after his death by a group of anarchists during the Spanish Civil War.
As the video shows, the current architect Jordi Faulí will be adding a number of new structures to the building, including the enormous central spire of Jesus Christ, which will rise 170 m above the ground — making it the tallest church in the world and the tallest buidling of any kind in Barcelona.
Via The Verge