Albert Gea / Reuters, file
A tour bus stops in front of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The unfinished cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi is one of the city's most popular attractions.
It is known as one of the most intricate and ornate works of architecture on Earth and, for the first time, it is possible to see what it will look like when it's completed – a full 144 years after construction began in 1882.
But that's still 13 years away. Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, the iconic emblem of Barcelona, Spain, and one of Europe's most popular tourist attractions, won't be finished until 2026.
The foundation that supports it has released a video that mixes helicopter footage with 3D animation, showing how the basilica will appear when the cranes are finally taken down. The rendering depicts the current main cupola rising along with several new spires and an entire new façade, all seeming to appear out of thin air.
The president of the committee in charge of finishing the massive building has declared it will be ready in time for the centenary of Gaudi's death in 1926, when the work was only a quarter finished. Gaudi – known as “God’s architect” – once famously said of the basilica, “my client is in no hurry.”
Though one of the world’s most well-known architectural masterpieces, La Sagrada Familia has not been universally loved through its long construction. George Orwell wrote in his memoir of the Spanish Civil War that the basilica was “one of the most hideous buildings in the world.”