Barcelona + La Sagrada Familia

No introduction needed for this awe-inspiring piece of work. It is not just an architectural masterpiece, but also a living testament of a man's ingenuity, aspirations and attention to detail. This man is none other than Antoni Gaudi. While photography could try its best to register its architecture intricacies and spatial splendour, it is the thought that went behind these designs that truly amazes the world till today which cannot be captured. His thoughts could be felt, touched and witnessed as you stroll down the tower spiral stairs and peer through every opening, run your fingers through the paraboloid stone profiles, and let glorious light bath you through the stained glass.

These days, many architects tend to focus on the overall massing and form, the ubiquitous, meaningless and random facade wall patterns (in Singapore), all created and assembled on a computer screen. Perhaps, we have lost the ability to design beyond our digital screens. We have forgotten how to create spaces that take our breathe away; that make people pause, admire and lose consciousness of time. We have forgotten or often ignored the subtle details that turn construction into art. Just as what Mies van der Rohe once said, "God is in the details". And only with the Sagrada Familia, such divine heartfelt experience would stand the test of time, in this case, 132 years.

Carved wooden door at the Passion Façade, reproducing words from the Bible in various languages including Catalan.

Looking down through an opening from one of the eight spires (total of eighteen in Gaudi's design, namely the twelve Apostles, four Evangelists, Virgin Mary, and the tallest shall be Jesus Christ).

The central nave interior with elegant branching columns in the shape of a tree. The interior is far more astonishing than its famous exterior. The level of detail and its intricacy is overwhelming. The more you look around you, the more dumbfounded you would get. Speechless.

Daylight filtering softly through the stained glass painting the chiselled wall profile, rendering a kaleidoscopic pattern of light and colours no matter where you stand in the nave.

The 1,492-pipe organ built and installed by Blancafort Orgueners de Montserrat against the stained glass windows.

Experiencing the colours of light.

Composition basics - always seek a different viewpoint.

A symphony of colour and light creating an atmosphere that pervades the whole church. Gaudí’s words came true "The church of La Sagrada Família will be luminous…, it will be the church of harmonious light."

132 years and still in the making.

The bell tower spires are decorated with words such as "Hosanna" (praise to God), "Excelsis" (to the highest), and "Sanctus" (hymn of praise).

Tower crane operator with splendid views. Protection netting on the intricate ceramic works crowning the tip of the tower spires.

Close up of the spire tips.

Dancing with the masterpiece.

Intricate details on the bell tower spire. Notice the scales are aligned diagonally. They correspond perfectly to the spiral staircase within, thus providing constant vantage moments as one descends the tower.

View from hotel rooftop. Reflection comes from the glass of the lobby skylight.

The tower cranes are dwarfed by the massive building and appear like fine needles, constantly dancing around and stitching the church together; a stitch at a time, a brick at a time. One day for sure, we will all witness the best of Gaudi in its totality.

The Nativity Façade.

Facts and Figures:
Date of Trip: 29 April to 8 May 2013
Accommodation: Ayre Hotel Rosellon
Equipment: Samsung NX1000, 16mm f2.4, 30mm f2, 85mm f1.4, 50-200mm; Samsung EX2F

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