Updated: May 18
In the early 2000s, my father took me to see a building in Barcelona.
As my brothers and I rounded the corner of Provença, my eyes squinted up to see a gigantic wall. I could barely make out what I was looking at because of the sun. The wall looked chaotic, messy even. I looked at my dad and wondered why he wanted to show us this barely built...thing. He then explained what I was looking at.
It was La Sagrada Familia. A structure that was dreamt up from an architect, Antoni Gaudi, who was well beyond his time. It started construction March 19, 1882.
Yep- You read that right.
His imprint is on the entirety of Barca. Technology wasn't even available at the time to create a majority of what he planned. Despite his outrageous audacity to want to build a basilica with stories literally etched into it, he worked towards it until his death.
Now, full disclosure, I do not affiliate with any religion.
I say this because I didn't fall in love with this building because of the theme.
It was because of the vision.
He dreamed up a physical representation of something big enough for all of our senses to create our own understanding of what we see in it.
Freedom of thought.
And for him to simply see it all in his mind's eye??
It's baffling to me.
This building has been a humanitarian labor of love since 1882 and continues to be built to this day.
La Sagrada is something I identified with that very day. I didn't realize it at the time but it marked me. Each time I saw it over the years, it was staggeringly different.
It was poured into every single day.
It is poured into every single day.
The enormity of spirituality and all that comes with each carve. The day I was able to walk inside of it..."emotional" isn't the word and frankly, I don't think there is a word good enough to describe the feeling.
It was more of a tangible sense.
I couldn't describe it for you but I know how it feels.
I'd recognize it anywhere.
That building was in pinnacle parts of my life and continues to be.
My brothers and I saw it together and to this day, that building reminds me of them.
Of all connections, really.
How much you can change and move if you want to.
How drastically different all sides and aspects to ourselves make up our entirety.
The side of the facade where the Nativity shows life and the side of Hell where it shows our shadow sides.
A literal & visual representation of what I have come to understand as the ego death itself- but that's a different topic for a different day.
Different architects & artists hands molding materials.
How each material is used and why it is used.
Don't you see it?
When it comes down to it, I have an immense amount of feelings surrounding this structure.
know some people have favorite locations like beaches and mountains- which I do, too- but those pale in comparison for me. Growing up, I watched my father spend hours with protractors, deadlines & pencils. Pouring over the long bond papers, diligently studying them. Watching him draft plans for the entire city and help create beauty. The sound of the 90's printer humming its song before actually performing the task, well into the evenings. I grew up understanding the beauty of creativity.
The beauty of structure when all I felt was chaos, initially looking at it. Taking personal decades to decode the chaos into methods and the methods into cosmos.
The extremes of beauty from either side.
It was the trust of numbers but the lines had more personality.
The ergonomics and precisions.
The way there was no room for marginal error.
The patience and perfection required to create sound dwellings.
I've always felt safe in beautiful architecture.
*If you want to watch more of a visual representation of this little slice of history, click the YouTube link. It's a pretty quick tour and a lot has come from the past 10 years it was documented.
*Thank you, dad.