Work Resumes On Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, But The 2026 Deadline Will Not Be Met
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Work Resumes On Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, But The 2026 Deadline Will Not Be Met

Isabelle Kliger

The Sagrada Família has announced that work on Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece is about to resume. However, the executive chairman of the Sagrada Família construction board, Esteve Camps, also confirmed the project will not meet its 2026 deadline, due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Works on Antoni Gaudí's eye-popping Sagrada Família temple in Barcelona, which began in 1882, are slowly nearing completion. Until recently, the stated objective was to finish construction in 2026, to mark the centenary of Gaudí’s death. However, on Wednesday, the Sagrada Família construction board admitted that this will no longer be possible, due to the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news was not entirely unexpected. The incessant activity around the Sagrada Família is as much a part of everyday life in Barcelona as the rising and setting of the sun. However, in March, the cranes stopped their tireless maneuvers, while the interminable lines of tourists that normally snake round the building suddenly disappeared.

Rethinking the schedule

At Wednesday’s press conference, Esteve Camps confirmed that the impact of the pandemic will prevent the project from being completed in 2026, as planned.

“The effects of the COVID pandemic are forcing us to rethink the schedule we had planned. This affects the objective we had set for 2026, since the context and circumstances do not allow us to make long-term future outlooks,” explained the head of the construction board.

In a project of this magnitude, where construction is financed by private donations and entrance tickets, the absence of visitors combined with Spain’s extended lockdown, has resulted in the paralysis of the building work and a significant drop in income.

Still committed to making Gaudí's project a reality

Esteve Camps added that, despite the current situation, “we are still excited and committed” to moving the project forward. Throughout its long history, the Sagrada Família construction board, “has seen difficult times, but has always continued making Gaudí's project a reality, to a greater or lesser degree.” And, “this time will be no different,” he explained.

In the immediate future, the Sagrada Família construction project will focus specifically on the Tower of the Virgin Mary, the second tallest in the Basilica, which will reach a dizzying height of 138 meters (452 feet) when finished. Every level of the tower is currently in place, with only the pieces of the 25-meter (82-foot) pinnacle remaining. The pinnacle will be topped by an illuminated twelve-pointed star.

The construction board has stated it is not able to commit to a new final completion date at this time.

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Having grown up in Sweden and studied in the U.K., I moved to Barcelona in 2010 and have never looked back. I write about travel, with a particular focus on all things

Having grown up in Sweden and studied in the U.K., I moved to Barcelona in 2010 and have never looked back. I write about travel, with a particular focus on all things sustainable and local, and pop culture. My ideal day would involve getting lost in a new city, stumbling into a tiny restaurant, and getting to sample a dish I've never had before. If it's served with red wine or gin (or any kind of local spirit—I'm not fussy), even better. My work can be found in Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Departures International, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, and more. Follow me on Instagram @ikliger.