July 31, 2016


If you have ever walked in a forest of giant sequoias and redwood trees, you remember how you were immediately mesmerized by their height, natural beauty, and distinctive appearance. Now expand your mind. Look up at those trees and imagine an architectural concept for a grand cathedral. The realization of that concept is the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona's top tourist attraction, with over 3 million visitors annually. 

In mid July, my husband and I were fortunate to be among those millions. Our visit to the Sagrada Familia moved us profoundly, perhaps more than any famous European church that we have ever seen.

Only after reading The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, a book that I purchased at the gift shop, did I gain more insight into Gaudi's mindset while he was creating his masterpiece. Gaudi was a "geometrist," according to the authors -- -- Carles Buxadé i Ribot, Josep Gómez Serrano, and Ramon Ferrando Rios, who have been working on the project for more than 25 years -- and "at the same time, [the Sagrada] is also the result of painstaking observation of nature, which, as the architect himself said, was always his teacher."

That explains why, when you look up in awe at the great columns of the Sagrada Familia, you see that they are slightly tilted, not straight. By design, they vary in diameter, like trees in a forest. With nature "always his teacher," Gaudi observed how light changes and is reflected differently throughout the day. He then mimicked nature. And so, depending on the hour and season of your visit, the colors, patterns, and hues shining on the "trees" are always changing.

Even better is Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, right down to the statue of Leif Erikson that America gave them to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the All Thing.

Posted by at July 31, 2016 7:10 AM