The Analects of Gaudí

The Analects of Gaudí: returning to the source

[For a longer project description please follow this link.]

The interior of Spain’s Sagrada Família Church was completed in 2010 to Antoni Gaudí’s design. Gaudí, who died in 1926, did not leave fully resolved models nor instructions for his successors to complete the whole Sagrada Família Church, the principal façade of which is still to be built.

In the absence of formalised information about Gaudí’s motivation, intellectual position, emotional engagement, or written histories, interpretation of Gaudí’s incomplete design for the Glory Façade presents a fascinating and contentious challenge for all involved. The scheduled 2026 completion of the basilica requires critical engagement with and insight into Gaudí’s thinking.

The Analects of Gaudí will undertake crucial archival research to gain insights into Gaudí’s thinking and intentions from the fragments (analects) of his writing, his few remaining models, the publications and unpublished archival material recorded by his assistants, and the key members of the current design team before they disperse at the end of the project, including 90-year old Architect Emeritus Sr Jordi Bonet i Armengol.

This complex, 4-year research project aims to determine Gaudí’s unwritten theory to create practical real world practices, as well as enriching scholarship through innovation.

Subproject 1: The researchers will return to the source, exploring Gaudí’s writings and sayings recorded by his protégées and associates to produce a comprehensive and authoritative English translation of his texts with critical commentary.

Subproject 2: This research will lead to two major exhibitions documenting how the last 50+ years of experience and learning have addressed a posthumous interpretation of Gaudí’s intentions.

Key Outcomes

The project’s principal aim is to understand more deeply research opportunities for innovation-led architectural practice via thr Chief Investigator’s collaboration with the Sagrada Família design team. Three secondary outcomes are:

  1. Repositioning the architect’s role within transdisciplinary collaboration and what has evolved into routine use of digital design;
  2. Innovation leadership in digital fabrication, lightweight and environmentally responsive construction materials, and new architectural science.
  3. Influencing building information modelling (BIM) and future architectural teams through seeing building projects as complex systems rather than ‘object-oriented’.

Communication of Results

Exhibitions: Deep Practice (commentaries (analects), images, and models garnered from the extensive archive) and Extended Practice (advanced digital design and fabrication and new practice paradigms).

Melbourne-based Symposium: Gaudí’s approach to collaboration and the changing nature of design communication.

Books: The Analects of Gaudí, a collection of Gaudí’s work, translated into English, with extensive commentary on the analects; and Situating Gaudí in Our Time, a collaboration with all the senior architects who have been responsible for the design of the major elements of the building for which there was relatively little documentary evidence of Gaudí’s precise intentions.

Personnel

  • Chief Investigator: Professor Mark Burry (0.2) will have overall carriage of the project, bringing 37 years of experience working on the as Senior Architect.
  • Partner Investigator Dr Jordi Faulí (0.1) will coordinate the research based at the Church’s extensive archive, bringing 26 years of experience with Sagrada Família.
  • Research Fellow 1 (0.6 Years 1-3)
  • Research Fellow 2 (0.6 Years 3-4)

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