The writer George Orwell called La Sagrada Familia: "one of the most hideous buildings in the world."
Orwell might have been a bit unfair. That's because he never actually saw the finished product. It's been under construction for more 100 years ... and still is to this day.
La Sagrada Familia soars above the city of Barcelona. In a way, it seems to reach for heaven itself. And that's probably the point. The building is a church.
It's the unfinished passion of Barcelona's most famous — or infamous — architect, Antoni Gaudi. People call him "God's Architect." He worked furiously on the building, altering plans, making additions and figuring out the most minute of details for decades.
The group in charge of finishing the building has just released an animated video showing the final stages of construction.
Basically, you're seeing Gaudi's unfinished dream. Or, at least, what the architects now in charge of the project believe is the best representation of that dream. Most plans for the building were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War at the end of the 1930s. So they're basing the completion off Gaudi's drawings and sketches of the place.
The real magic happens when you step inside. It's feels like you entered a catholic dreamscape. You walk under what feels like a forested canopy of heaven. It's a spiritual place, in that it reaches out to everyone's spirit, not just a particular religion. There are even reports of people converting to Catholicism after visiting the Sagrada Familia.
While I didn't convert after visiting, I did apprecitate one particular part of the building that lacks any gaudiness. It's the workspace of Antoni Gaudi: This little hermetic space in the basement. He crafted and worked there for decades. It was like a little cave, where he had the power to construct the heavens right over his head.
I bet he never knew the project would take this long to complete. The architects anticipate the completion of the project by the year 2026, about a century after his death.
It will be interesting to see if they will be able to meet that deadline. The church looked totally unfinished just a year or so ago when I visited. And judging from the video ... the hardest part is still to come. They need to complete the largest tower, known as the "Christ Tower," which will be some 500 feet high. When the final piece is put in place, the Sagrada Familia should become the tallest church in the world.
And then maybe, just maybe, Gaudi can finally rest in peace.