Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally gets building permit after 137 years

Barcelona City Council has finally granted the Antoni Gaudí-designed Sagrada Familia its first building permit, meaning it can now be completed.

The Basilica of the Sagrada Família has been under construction for 137 years, awaiting the city’s response to the application for a permit submitted in 1885. The request was accompanied by a blueprint of the ground plans signed by Gaudí.

Janet Sanz, Barcelona’s deputy mayor for ecology, urbanism and mobility, tweeted an image of herself signing the permit. Sagrada Familia’s licence allows it to continue building work until 2026.

Sanz said the Sagrada Familia will be paying €4.6 million (£4 million) to the city for the permit. It has already agreed to pay €36 million (£31 million) for the expenses generated by years of building work.

“We are a brave government that does not allow privileges,” she wrote.

Work is scheduled to begin on the second phase, which will address the unfinished part of the narthex on the Glory façade and the organisation of the surroundings of the Sagrada Família.

According to the Sagrada Familia blog, this phase will also require the approval of an urban planning instrument.

In order to define the instruments needed and their content, joint working commissions will be established with the Barcelona City Council, which will include members from the City Council, the Fundació, neighbours and entities from the city.

Sagrada Família under construction for 137 years

Sagrada Familia is in its last stage of construction. Once the final 170-metre-high central spire is built, it will be the tallest church in the world, at almost 10 metres above Ulm Minster in Germany.

Gaudí worked on the project up until his death in 1926, when he was hit by a tram outside the construction site. It’s estimated that the building was around 20% complete at the time.

Sagrada Familia was consecrated in 2010 and can now be used for religious services. It’s also one of Barcelona’s most visited tourist attractions, with approximately 4.5 million visitors each year.

Image: Sagrada Familia