Liquid Stone

New Zealand/Australia 2009 / 52min. / Catalan with English subtitles.
Director Polly Watkins. Producers James Frankham, Beth Frey.

The Sagrada Família Church in Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí’s most ambitious creation. Begun in the 19th century, it is still under construction today. Gaudí spent 43 years of his life working on the church. When he realised it would not be completed within in his lifetime, he left intricate design models encoded with an ingenious geometrical system that would enable future generations to complete it.

With Gaudí’s untimely death in 1926 and the destruction of the precious models during the Spanish Civil War, coupled with a sculptural style of building that was utterly unique, the task of continuing posed a daunting enigma for those who followed. No-one understood the complex geometry needed to interpret the models and translate them into ways of building.

In 1979, 23-year old New Zealand architect Mark Burry met two of the directors who had worked with Gaudí and was offered the chance to unlock the master’s code. Slowly he began graphically recreating Gaudi’s plans by hand. To speed up this time-consuming process, Burry then took the innovative step of applying aeronautical software which transformed the long process ahead and revealed the astonishing constructive genius of Gaudí’s design.

Sagrada Família and RMIT University

Lecture: University of Michigan


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