On Wednesday evening, the construction of the largest tower of the Socrata Familia was completed. It is now illuminated by a large star of glass and steel.
Jordi Foley, the seventh chief architect of the Chakra Familia, has long been regarded as the man who completed the iconic work of Anthony Gaud in Barcelona. But the epidemic has again thwarted plans for this extraordinary project that has been going on for about 140 years.
When will the remaining building be completed? The preliminary schedule called for the completion of the work in 2026, the centenary of the death of the famous modern architect. But due to the Govt epidemic, this goal was abandoned and the missions remain uncertain.
“We can’t give any estimate because we don’t know at what level visits will resume in the coming years,” explains Jordi Foley, recalling that he only finances private donations to the Basilica and above all the entrance fee. The audience.
In 2019, the Socrata Familia was the most visited monument in Barcelona, with 4.7 million permits. But due to the Govt epidemic, the basilica was closed to the public for two overall periods from March 2020 for almost a year.
According to municipal data, fewer than 764,000 people visited the building in 2020. And according to the Trust responsible for the work, visits will not return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2023.
This is not the first time the site has encountered a problem. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the Chakrada family saw its future threatened, and the plans and models Gaudi left behind disappeared into the fire.
For some, this loss of capital does not allow them to consider the latest elements as the work of the Catalan architect. UNESCO in its World Heritage Site includes only the home of the Nativity and the closet of the basilica erected during Gaudi’s lifetime.
But for Foley, the current building is true to the original plan. Gaudi “clearly defined the structure of the various elements of naves (…), vaults, and towers, and stressed that” these geometric rules could recreate this grammar he left behind in his models “.
Prior to the epidemic, Foley was appointed Basilica’s chief architect in 2012, leading a team of 27 architects and more than 100 workers. Today, only five architects and 16 workers work on site.
In Barcelona, a city of 1.6 million people, the debate over its tourism model is raging, as such a plan is so subtle that many people oppose mass tourism, which, according to them, destroys some districts of the city. Including the Basilica.
“My life is here, they want to put it on the ground” or “Stop the lies of tour guides”, condemning the banners attached to the balconies on the street where the building’s future main entrance will be built, relocating several hundred families to one staircase.
When asked about these criticisms, Foley argues that “dialogue with everyone and the search for reasonable solutions”.
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