Technology and craftsmanship coexist at the Sagrada Família: iron and stone

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At the Sagrada Família, the artisan trades that were traditionally used can be seen in many facets that co-exist with the more technological side, representative of the current era. This contrast, which has been accentuated in recent years, makes the Temple building project unique, as we have works here that are nearly unheard of on today’s job market that focuses on mass fabrication alongside others that are the result of the most advanced technology and the latest innovations. This dual nature, which is necessary to bring Gaudí’s project to life, can be seen in two of the elements at the core of the Temple: iron and stone.

With the metal, for example, the Sagrada Família works with a type of stainless steel called duplex that is extremely resistant to corrosion and mechanical stresses. Normal civil works, however, use another type of steel called carbon steel, which is stronger than standard stainless steel but more vulnerable to corrosion. So, by using duplex steel, the Sagrada Família is committing to a truly innovative technological improvement. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the Temple can’t also use traditional wrought iron at the same time, which requires expertise in the trade and techniques that have been passed down from one artisan to the next for centuries.

This contrast between innovation and tradition can also be seen in the stone work. We can even see these two facets on the same piece of finished stone. Where this is very clear is in the project for the central towers currently being built. For these, we use blocks of stone that must be cut with extraordinary precision in order to run the cables and anchors through them. To do this, we use numerical control machines, which ensure the cut is perfect. At the same time, however, the exterior face of these stone has unrivalled texture added manually by artisan stonecutters by hand with hammers.

We encourage you to watch the video below, which explains the combination of these methods and how both technology and craftsmanship, the former the product of today and the latter of expertise gathered over centuries, are helping us make Gaudí’s project a reality.

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