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Church Designed by Gaudí 100 Years Ago Is Finally Being Built

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If all goes according to plan, by 2017 the city of Rancagua, Chile will be home to the only Antoni Gaudí-designed building outside of Spain. In the early 1920s, the Catalan starchitect was asked by Franciscan friar Angélico Aranda to design a chapel for Chile "as only you know how to do," he wrote. He was hoping to build a "very original" church dedicated to Saint Mary of the Angels. The whimsical modernist obliged by sending over never-implemented drawings that he'd made in 1915 for the apse of the Sagrada Família, his masterwork in Barcelona. A century later, the architect's designs for Chile have been resurrected; the country's president Michelle Bachelet just announced $7M in government funding for the Gaudí Cultural and Spiritual Center, which will use Gaudí's original plans for a chapel.

The new 117,000-square-foot project will be designed in a hyperboloid style by the Chilean architect Christian Matzner, and will include a cultural center, a chapel 98 feet high, an art school, and a cafeteria. According to Matzer, Gaudí's 1915 apse design for the Sagrada Família (and now for Chile) was inspired by the Girona Cathedral in Spain, built by Spanish architect Luis Bonifacio.

Back in 1922, Gaudí had some questions for Friar Aranda, whom he had become friendly with in 1909. "I'm interested in some preliminary notes, like: location and site conditions. . . Another interesting note would be to know the intensity of the prevailing winds and if there are frequent cyclones," the Catalan architect wrote, four years before his death. Although there was no way he could have known it would take over a century to build, Gaudí recognized the importance of his first international work: "This project would serve as a spiritual fellowship between Spain and America."

· Chile to Finally Build Gaudi's Only Project Outside of Spain [Arch Daily]
· All Oh My Gaudí posts [Curbed National]