Construction at the Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona is slated to start up again after shuttering in March, but the long-term impact of the pandemic will force the epochal construction timetable even further back.
Designed by Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Família began construction in 1882 and ambitiously aimed to mark the entirety of Jesus’s life through 18 monumental spires; one for each of the 12 Apostles, one for the Virgin Mary, four for the Evangelists, and the tallest for Jesus himself, topping out at 566 feet. Unfortunately, because the highly ornamented basilica (it was consecrated as such officially in November 2010 by the Pope) has and will continue to be funded via private donation, its construction has stretched on through two World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, and decades of societal change. Still, the Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, the nonprofit board overseeing construction, had been pushing to complete the basilica by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
Now it’s evident that won’t happen. On September 16, the board announced that work would resume on the nearly-complete Virgin Mary spire, and that the 452-foot-tall tower, topped with by an 85-foot-tall pinnacle and culminating in a 12-pointed star, would finish in 2021. However, it was also confirmed that because of the COVID-induced slowdown and total crash in both donations and ticket sales, the project’s timeline has been pushed back considerably.
“The effects of the COVID pandemic are forcing us to rethink the schedule we had planned,” said Esteve Camps, head of the board, during a press conference on the 16th, according to Forbes. “This affects the objective we had set for 2026, since the context and circumstances do not allow us to make long-term future outlooks.”
Although the board affirmed it is committed to finishing the Sagrada Família, as it has always been, it was unable to give a new estimate for when the soaring building might be finally finished.