The final stage of construction has started on one of the world’s most famous and longest-going architectural projects, the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona, Spain.

Work has been underway for more than a century, a key role played over the past four decades by an Australian team led by architect Mark Burry, a professor from the University of Melbourne.

The last six towers are now expected to top out and be largely complete by 2026, in time for the 100 year anniversary of the death of original architect Antoni Gaudi.

In a project update on 21 October, chief architect Jordi Fauli said the central tower, the tallest of the six, will rise 172.5 metres. This will make the Sagrada Família the tallest religious building in Europe.

He said the tower will rise directly above the main chamber, which is designed to support the weight of the towers and channel sunlight into the building.


  • The first foundation stones of the Roman Catholic basilica were laid in 1882
  • It is now 70 per cent complete
  • Tallest point will be 172.5 metres
  • Expected project completion 2032
  • Designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1926

The video below shows how the building will look when complete


Mark Burry, Professor of Urban Futures, University of Melbourne, and his Australian and Barcelona-based team have been working on the process of digitisation of Gaudi's drawings, many of which were only rough sketches and are now being interpreted to realise the globally iconic Temple Sagrada Familia structure.

Professor Burry and his colleagues have been able to follow Gaudí's intellectual framework, using the geometric patterns as the code to engage with ideas, plans and models.

Originally from New Zealand, Burry has been involved as a consulting architect since 1979, when first invited to help unlock Gaudi’s methodologies (listen to interview by ABC in a podcast here). He has been a key collaborator with the design team ever since.

The architectural monument today is one of the major tourism drawcard’s to Barcelona, one of the world’s most visited destinations, with well beyond three million visits in 2014.

News sources: IfpressThe Independent and El País.