Plans for Europe’s Soon-to-be Tallest Religious Building Revealed

December 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. construction / kənˈstrʌk ʃən / (n.) – the process of building something by putting parts together
Example: The construction of their house took two years.

2. architect / ɑr kɪˌtɛkt / (n.) – a person who designs buildings and other large structures
Example: My friend is the architect who designed that bridge.

3. announce / əˈnaʊns / (v.) – to make something known publicly
Example: They announced that the building will be completed next year.

4. noteworthy / ˈnoʊtˌwɜr ði / (adj.) – deserving attention
Example: Her academic achievements are all noteworthy.

5. supplement / sʌp ləˌmɛnt / (v.) – to add
Example: They supplemented their income by working part-time in construction.


Read the text below.
The construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Europe's soon-to-be tallest religious building, started in 1882 and may finish in 2032.

Although its designer, Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, died in 1926, the construction of Sagrada Familia continued under several architects, the most recent being Jordi Fauli. At the time of Gaudi’s death, only one facade [fuh-SAHD] or part of the building’s exterior was completed. Fifteen years ago, an inner part of the church was still missing its roof. Now, the building is 70 percent finished.

Even though it is difficult to announce an exact date, plans are still on schedule to finish majority of the church’s structure in time for its 100th anniversary in 2026.  So far, 2032 is the latest year for completion that has been announced.

Most noteworthy about the Sagrada Familia will be its six towers, four of which are named after the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one after the Virgin Mary, and the tallest after Jesus Christ. At 172.5 meters, the Tower of Jesus Christ will be even taller than the Ulm Cathedral in Germany, Europe's current tallest tower, by 10.5 meters. The tower will feature a crucifix, while the church will have arched ceilings inside and decorated facades.

Although more work is yet to be done on the Sagrada Familia, it is already a major tourist site. Last year alone, 3.2 million people visited the church. These visitors not only aid the church's construction by supplementing its budget with visitor entrance fees but also improve the economy of Spain through tourism. Even more visitors are expected once the church is finished and becomes the tallest church in Europe.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think were the factors that caused Sagrada Familia to remain unfinished?
·         Would you want to visit Sagrada Familia once it has finished construction? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, what is the most important thing to consider before a building’s construction?
·         Would you rather have a simple building that is completed in a short period of time or a grand building that takes longer to construct? Why or why not?

December 27, 2015