History of Innovation

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1883: Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain

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Building: Sagrada Familia
Location: Barcelona, Spain
By: Antoni Gaudi
Construction: 19 March 1883 –

Innovation Genre: Masonry
Innovation Aspects: Complex Geometry.
The building design was originally created by Francisco de Paula del Villar in 1882, but all record disappeared in a fire. In 1883, Gaudi was commissioned to completely re-design the church until his death in 1926 (building continued by many builders after). Gaudi was inspired by nature to create complex geometric forms – hyperbolic paraboloid, hyperboloid, helicoid, and cone. The helicoid was associated with movement and the hyperboloid was associated to light for Gaudi. He was one of the first architects who discovered the usefulness of the hyperboloid – instead of using curved beam to create curved surfaces, this shape can be made from straight beams. In the Sagrada Familia, hyperboloid vaults are placed in the center of two intersecting inverted catenary arches. To make catenary arches, upside-down tension models frame them. This was an easy method to make non-circular arches that were able to distribute the forces around an opening to the ground.

These innovations allowed for architects and engineers to build more diverse structures while using materials efficiently and maintaining structural integrity.

Gaudi died in 1926, but the design and methods that he innovated continued to be used for the completion of the building, which (as of 2013) is complete other than some exterior details.`

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Written by Lauren Brannom

March 19, 1883 at 7:47 pm

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