An impossible legacy? Controversy brews over Gaudi masterpiece

« The Sagrada Familia is the undisputed masterpiece and life’s work of Catalan architect, Antoino Gaudi. It is also a building mired in controversy and just plain bad luck. As the building edges ever closer toward completion, which is estimated to be in the next two decades, another protest has broken out questioning whether anyone is capable of doing justice to the late Master’s vision.

The latest protest comes from a group of influential architects and artists from Spain’s art and heritage world, led by Manuel Borja-Villel, the Director of Madrid’s Reina Sofia art museum. They claim the new work will bear little resemblance to Gaudi’s vision and that the tourists who visit the structure will find it impossible to tell, “Where Gaudi’s work begins and ends”. But measuring up to Gaudi is not easy. A succession of architects has worked on the structure since the architect’s untimely death in 1926. But hampered by Gaudi’s eccentric way of working (the architect did not work from the plans created), a lack of plans which were damaged in the Spanish Civil War, not to mention the idiosyncratic nature of the architecture itself, the job has not been easy. »

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(Source: World Architecture News Newsletter of August 18 2008)

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