Barcelona’s Iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica to Add New Stairway, Against Objections from Locals

Tourists outside La Sagrada Familia.


One of Spain’s most iconic structures, which has famously been under construction since 1882, is now getting one more addition.

Antoni Gaudí’s soaring basilica, the Sagrada Familia, will soon expand into the neighboring street, to the chagrin of Barcelona’s longtime residents, according to El Pais. The building’s Board of Construction had acquired part of a 6,000-square-foot plot of land that had long been eyed for a new stairway that is projected to be 187 feet-long and 16 feet-wide.

In September some 250 residents and businesses that would be affected by the expansion  contested the Sagrada’s work permit in the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia. The plaintiffs argued that the proposed steps would force the relocation of 3,000 people. They also argued that this addition is not included in Gaudí “original” designs. Esteve Camps, president of the Temple Building Board, successfully argued that the steps were sanctioned by plans drawn up by the artist in 1916.

The Mallorca expansion is far from the project’s first controversy. Gaudí’s workshop was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, leaving successive architects to rely on conjecture to complete the basilica following his death in 1926. A 1953 manifesto penned by some of the era’s most prominent voices in architecture, including Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Walter Gropius, demanded Gaudí’s assistants cease any further expansion, which has progressed in spurts over the years and in earnest since 1985.

Since its inception, La Sagrada Familia has relied on public donations and it is currently in debt for approximately $41 million, with construction scheduled to be completed in 2026.



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