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Barcelona’s Sagrada Família: Gaudí’s monument to Nature

He became one of the most famous Modernist architects- responsible for many of Barcelona’s most famous monuments-, but Antoni Gaudí wasn’t aiming to be avant-garde. “To be original,” he claimed, “is to return to the origin”. For Gaudí the origin was nature.

Construction began on his Sagrada Familia temple in 1882 much before the coining of terms like biomimicry (1982) or organic architecture (1939 by Frank Lloyd Wright). Today, Barcelona’s Sagrada Família is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Spain’s most visited places. And nature is everywhere: not just an inside that feels like a concrete forest- complete with trees, branches and leaves that conceal windows to the sky-, but in his replication of the geometries of nature.

Jordi Cussó i Anglés spent decades studying Gaudí’s work as head of the Sagrada Família’s modeling workshop and searching for what secrets he pulled from nature. In his book Gaudí’s Sagrada Família: a Monument to Nature, he explains some of his findings, such as, how the famous architect’s study of an oleander plant helped lead to his discovery of a new column (the double twisted column).

In this video, we talk to Cussó and to Jordi Bonet, chief architect of the temple and son of a Gaudí collaborator, about nature as a source of inspiration.