Antoni Gaudí, one of the most famous figures of Catalan culture and world architecture, spent over 40 years designing the Temple of the Sagrada Familia.
Antoni Gaudí was born on 25 June 1852 in Reus, in the Baix Camp, which was then the second city in Catalonia. He attended the Escoles Pies school, where he excelled in Geometry and Arithmetic, and received a traditional, religious and humanist education. Son of a coppersmith, he started learning about crafts in his father’s workshop in 1860.
In 1869 he moved to Barcelona and prepared for entry to the School of Architecture, which he joined in 1873. He combined his studies with working as an assistant in an architectural practice, as well as in the workshops of a carpenter, a glassmaker and a locksmith where he learned these crafts.
He was inconsistent in his Architecture studies, but stood out in the subjects of design, drawing and mathematical calculation. In 1878, after qualifying in Architecture, he received his first official commission. As his professional reputation grew he undertook larger projects commissioned by the bourgeoisie such as, amongst others, the Casa Calvet, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà. In 1883 he took over the design of the Sagrada Familia, while also working on other projects.
He worked for 43 years on the temple until 1926. In 1914 he left all other work to concentrate exclusively on this sole project until his death on 10 June 1926, the result of a tragic accident three days earlier. His funeral cortege, which went through much of Barcelona and finished in the Sagrada Familia, was a grand event in the city in recognition of his status as the greatest architect Barcelona has ever seen. Gaudí was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.
Man of faith, observer of nature and great architect, Antoni Gaudí has become a universal figure of modern architecture. His contribution to the discipline was a break from the established order, as much in form as for the structure and constructive solutions found in his buildings, a result of his own, unique and unprecedented methodology.