Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rome was not built in a day and neither was this church

Bigastro embraces the philosophy of Citta Slow as a way of taming the fast pace of modern life with a healthy regard for traditional values. The principles of Citta Slow, although originally conceived as a reaction to McDonalds opening a fast food restaurant by the Spanish Steps in Rome, can be applied to almost every aspect of life from the food we eat to the way we develop our towns.

In the boom years of construction, everyone wanted to build fast, make as much money as possible and satisfy what they thought was an insatiable demand for more and more houses. In doing so they made many mistakes which are now being paid for.

As a reaction to this indecent haste, in Ireland there is now a Slow Architecture movement which  which brings the CItta Slow approach to building. The notion is, if you take your time and consider your decisions-  the result will be a better and more appropriate form of construction. I think they are right.

image Worldwide, the best current example of this considered approach to building is probably the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family in Barcelona otherwise known as the Sagrada Família .

The principle architect, Antoni Gaudi, worked on its design and construction from 18883 until his death in 1926. Since then the building has continued and is still not complete.

There was a period during the Spanish Civil War when work stopped and many thought that the church should have been left in that unfinished state but no, after the war ended, funded by donations and ticket sales, the process of completing this masterwork resumed.

Now we kind of have a final date when the Sagrada Família  might be complete. By 2010, the building was half finished but still the greatest challenges to its construction lay ahead. With modern techniques and materials it is hoped that these can be overcome and that everything will be completed by 2026 or thereabouts. That date would nicely coincide with the anniversary of its principle architect’s death.

I’ll pencil that into my diary in the hope that I can visit Barcelona about then and stand in awe of the vision of the final result. 

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