Plans by the astonishing architect Antonio Gaudi are the basis for a new chapel in Chile dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels. The project could resume this year, some 95 years after his death.
If built, the chapel would be the only architectural work of the great Spanish master outside of his native country. The chapel was originally intended to be part of Gaudi's famous unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia Basilica of Barcelona. However, it was never added.
The architect instead sent the designs to the New World upon a request from the city of Rancagua, a city 50 miles south of Santiago with over 230,000 residents today.
The Gaudi de Triana Corporation was launched in 1996 with the goal of building the chapel.
Beatriz Valenzuela, the corporation's executive secretary, said there is “hopeful news” of progress on the chapel, which has faced several delays. After the failure of the public bidding process to award the construction contract in 2018, the project was put on hold. However, in 2020 the Gaudi de Triana Corporation resumed talks with the National Directorate of Architecture of the Ministry of Public Works, giving new impetus to the project.
In February, Raúl Irarrázabal, the ministry's National Director of Architecture, announced the reactivation of the construction project.
The project is in its administrative phase to evaluate its social and economic viability. The bidding process could resume.
“We hope that the political will that has to be there will be demonstrated in order to go forward with the bidding process, understanding that we have a tremendous historical and spiritual legacy from Antonio Gaudi in Chile and the Americas," Valenzuela said.
Antonio Gaudi i Conet was born in Reus in the Spanish region of Catalonia on June 25, 1852. Known as “the architect of God,” he was the creator of a new type of architecture based on curved lines. He constantly experimented with structures and new forms.
He was also known for his Christian devotion and ascetisim.
Construction on La Sagrada Familia Basilica began in the 1880s but due to various factors it is still under construction. It is Gaudi’s crowning work. To build it, he gave up his salary and his fees as an architect. He even went so far as to personally beg.
Gaudi died in Barcelona at the age of 73 on June 10, 1926, after injuries suffered when he was accidentally struck by a tram. His cause for canonization opened in 2003.
Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the unfinished basilica in 2010, describing it as “a hymn of praise to God, carved in stone.” Planners hope to finish construction in 2026, the centenary of Gaudi's death.
The Gaudi de Triana Corporation along with the Chilean College of Architects and the Association of the Offices of Chilean Architects held an international conference March 25. The conference was based on the construction of La Sagrada Familia.
Conference participants included Jordi Faulí, who is the director of the Technical Office of the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, and the office’s assistant architect, David Puig.
Both gave a presentation on the architecture and significance of the church, its architectural foundations and construction program. They discussed the challenges of the basilica's naves, the dome of the sacristy, and the soaring towers dedicated to Jesus Christ, the Evangelists and the Virgin Mary. They also discussed the basilica's Chapel of the Assumption and the Façade of Glory.