God's Architect?

Wednesday 25 Apr 2007

Gaudi on fast track to become architecture’s first Saint

We will never know what was uppermost in Antoni Gaudi’s mind in the last moments before he fell under a Barcelona tram on the 9th June 1926 but we can probably be sure that he wasn’t expecting to become architecture’s first saint.

Now, 81 years after his ignominious end, WAN has learned that wheels are turning deep within the walls of the Vatican that could see the architect receiving the ultimate commission. Cardinal Jośe Saraiva Martins is wrestling with this crucial decision and just needs to give the nod to Pope Benedict XV1 for history to be made. Apparently Guadi’s candidature is based not on his architectural visions but on his ability to “intercede with God on behalf of those who pray for him”

Gaudi of course has been inextricably linked to the Catholic Church through his Sagrada Familia cathedral, now a world famous icon for Spain’s second largest city. Campaigners (yes its true) for his canonisation say that “his greatest creation has made faith accessible to the average person and inspired thousands who were not Catholics before they visited.”

However the decision for Cardinal Martins is a bit tricky as Gaudi is not up to specs in a few key areas. Usually saints will have inspired miracles or at least an apparition or two. Only one sighting of the saint-in-waiting was recorded by a German artist living in Barcelona who said that a younger version of Gaudi appeared in her flat, “He wanted to tell me something important about the way the Sagrada Familia worked. But I couldn’t hear him as I had earplugs in. When I took them out he disappeared.” Of course he could have been trying to warn her about the new underground Madrid Express which will rattle through only feet from the cathedral’s foundations threatening to shake the structure to bits even before it can be completed in 20 years time.

In a last (?) twist of irony the express train tunnel route, confirmed this week, has ignited an unholy row between the city of Barcelona and just about every action group imaginable. An engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) called the railway plan “a thoughtless act of vandalism” while the president of the cathedral board of directors, Joan Rigol, said it could be “the kiss of death.”

We hope that the Cardinal can make his decision quicker than the 127 years the Sagrada Familia has taken so far to construct, still being only half complete…or maybe the St. will stand stand for Station not Saint...

WAN believes this story has yet to run it’s course…watch this space…

Michael Hammond

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