Antoni Gaudí accepted the job of continuing a neogothic-style church and giving it a monumental character. When the temple is finished, it will have three façades: the first representing the Birth of Christ, the second the Passion and death and the third the Glory. The four towers on each façade represent the four apostles.
In 1882, Antoni Gaudí, who was not yet a recognized architect, accepted the commission to continue the construction of a neo-Gothic church that had already been started. Obviously, he redid the entire project, adapting it to his style and giving it a monumental character.
He worked on it until he died in 1926, and even his last years were spent in the temple workshop. Gaudí left unfinished a work which would be the most prominent of all his creation and would become the most visited monument in Barcelona.
Hyperbolic paraboloids, convex, helicoid and hyperboloid vaults are the technical names of the forms used by the artist in much of his work and, above all in the Sagrada Familia, in which he took them to the highest structural complexity.
From the beginning, the Sagrada Familia has sparked debate among the people of Barcelona, especially after the artist´s death, when it raised the question of the continuation of works. Those who have opted for the continuation, and won their argument, argue that cathedrals have always been built throughout several generations and that each has brought its vision of art and time.
The main problem is that most of the project plans were destroyed during the Civil War (the workers´ movement saw it as a symbol of power of the bourgeoisie and the church) and architects who have continued the work have had to rely on the few plans saved or published and on some models and photographs.
Moreover, the material being used is artificial stone and not the natural stone used by Gaudí. The sculptures added to the façade of the Pasión are also controversial, work of Josep Maria Subirachs whose Cubist forms rather contrast with the curved lines that characterize the work of Gaudí.
Once the temple is completed, it will have three façades, one dedicated to the Nativity of Christ, one to the Passion and Death (the access to the site at present) and the most monumental one, the Glory façade on the south side. The four towers of each façade (at present eight are built) symbolise the twelve apostles. The dome that crowns the apse is the symbol of the Virgin, and the four large towers are dedicated to the evangelists and encircle the central spire that symbolizes the Saviour.
From the Nativity of Christ façade one can walk up to one of the towers, an effort that is undoubtedly worth it for the uppor perspective of the temple and of the entire city. Other interesting areas are the cloister, the crypt and the museum.