When completed, La Sagrada Família—the wondrous, bizarrely beautiful masterwork of architect Antoni Gaudí—will become the tallest church in the world, and certainly one of the most architecturally unique. That is, if it can get a construction permit, pay its taxes, and displace 3,000 residents.
In short, Barcelona’s City Council is none too pleased with the Board of La Sagrada Família. They say there’s no building permit, that the church hasn’t paid city construction taxes, and that no one’s clued them in for plans to complete Gaudí’s esplanade that would entail tearing down existing residential structures. What’s an architectural icon to do?
The board of the cathedral responded saying that of course they have permission to build, citing a permit request sent to the City of Sant Martí de Provençals in 1885—before the area became a part of Barcelona. New building permits haven’t been required by previous mayors.
Why would Barcelona require a building permit now? Probably to support their second quibble with La Sagrada Família: construction taxes. While the church is exempt form paying state tax, its building license should require it to pay local building tax of 4.96 euros per square meter—roughly $921,000 (€840,000) every year.
The third issue is another biggie. Gaudí’s vision included a large walkway nearly 200 feet wide running from Mallorca Street to Arago Street, linking the Sagrada’s complex with Diagonal Avenue. But such an esplanade would mean tearing down dozens of existing buildings and displacing up to 3,000 residents. The City Council wants to know what the church to make a formal proposal for how to handle this issue in the next six months.
If the building is indeed finished by 2026, they’re going to have to work something out.