La Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882. 132 years later it is still a work in progress. Antoni Gaudí’s basilica is a testament to both man’s ambition and his devotion to a higher power. Spires rise to the heavens. Statues of Jesus, the apostles, and other figures decorate nearly every surface of the spiraling, twisting, and absolutely unlinear building. Millions flock to Barcelona to see it every year.

But while so many eyes are gazing up to the heavens, something else is happening at La Sagrada Familia. Teams of construction workers are busy building this soaring monument. The basilica has seen generations of workers, various political regimes, and scores of architects come and go. But the work is nearly done. Enough advances have been made in recent years that the workers are on pace to complete the basilica in 2026.

— Dan Meade
 Photographed: July 5, 2011
Published: January 30, 2014