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When Will Barcelona’s Sagrada Família Be Finished? We Finally Have an Answer (Kind Of)

And you thought your contractor was taking forever. 

La Sagrada Família, the eye-catching basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí, has been under construction in Barcelona, Spain, since 1882. 

Wars, funding problems, Franco’s multidecade dictatorship, the loss of the original blueprints, and other crises have delayed the completion of the church time and again. Progress was especially poky during the undertaking’s first century or so. The main nave didn’t get a roof till 2010. 

But at long last, the organization in charge of the construction has set a completion date for the “final stage of the work”: sometime in 2026.

The Chapel of the Assumption will be finished next year, according to the church’s website, to be followed in 2026 by the last tower, fittingly dedicated to Jesus Christ and standing at a height of about 558 feet. The tower will have a 56-foot-tall cross.

If the builders meet their new deadline, La Sagrada Família will be done 144 years after work commenced and 100 years after Gaudí died. 

Except that the church won’t quite be finished.

As The Guardian explains, sculptures, decorative flourishes, and the minor detail of a 2-block-long stairway to the main entrance will still need to be installed. 

How long will that take? An additional 8 years after the Jesus tower is expected to be complete. 

So that would bring us to 2034—a full decade from now and 152 years since the start of the project. 

And that’s assuming there aren’t additional delays. 

One potential snag is that big stairway, the building of which would require demolishing the many structures currently in the way, displacing hundreds of families and businesses.

Many preservationists argue that most work done on the basilica after Gaudí’s death in 1926 is suspect anyway, since Catalan revolutionaries broke into the architect’s old workshop during the Spanish Civil War, setting fire to blueprints and smashing models. That’s why UNESCO has only granted World Heritage status to the parts of the church (the crypt and the Nativity facade) completed during Gaudí’s lifetime. 

For nearly a century since, a series of builders have had to rely on surviving fragments and guesswork to reconstruct the original design as best they could. 

In 2026—er, 2034 at the latest—we will finally get to see the full realization of Gaudí’s vision. Or somebody’s vision anyway.