I've been to Sagrada Familia in 1998 when the main space was full of scaffolding, and I can tell you it was one of the most moving experiences of my life, even being full of construction equipment. To say the least, Gaudi was way ahead of his time. This is one of the true definitions of architecture, and to think it's been under construction for over 130 years, it is truly monumental.
One thing I find interesting in the news that's been on the internet surrounding this story is that people seem to agree that he was ahead of his time, and it is only now the devoted architects and builders are figuring out how to build some pieces of his vision. I have to wonder - what happens when someone proposes something like this in today's world? Aren't they pretty much denigrated to just being a dreamer? How is this different? I know some amazing architecture is being and has been built, but would anyone commit to working on a project where most of it cannot be built using today's technology? He was obviously a visionary and he has a group of very devoted followers. In fact, I'm not even sure devotion is the right word.
Lara Logan: What were you going to do that they couldn't do?
Mark Burry: My task was to actually reverse engineer the models, if you like.
Reverse engineer them so he could understand how Gaudí's models were supposed to fit together, almost like the pieces of a complex puzzle. He told us Gaudí's design was so advanced there was nothing like it in the language of architecture at the time. In the end, he turned to the most sophisticated aeronautical design software available.
Mark Burry: We had to look to other professions who've actually tackled the complexities of the Família, which are basically complex shapes and surfaces so that's the vehicle industry: the car designers, the ship designers, the plane designers. They've been grappling for decades with the very same issues that Gaudí was putting up as architectural challenges.
Lara Logan: So you are using the most up to date aeronautical engineering software to complete something that he conceived of in the late 1800's.
Mark Burry: Absolutely.