The Sagrada Familia basilica, Barcelona’s most famous landmark, has been using 3D printing since 2001 to continue the work of the great designer Antoni Gaudi. This modernist architect was not able to finish the work during his life, so the Sagrada Familia consortium has to design much of the cathedral themselves. With the help of 3D printing, Gaudi’s famous work is on its way to completion.
Already Gaudi has been aware of the importance of visualising his designs as a 3D model, to get a better idea of how an element blends in with the building. Ever since the start of the project back in 1882, Gaudi and following architects used handcrafted 3D models to better understand the design. This of course was not only time consuming but also very expensive. Since 2001, the team of the Sagrada Familia consortium turned to 3D printing technology to create such 3D models. The designs which are later 3D printed are created with Materialise’s Mimics software. This fast and much more affordable process allows for the creation of various prototypes in order to compare them and decide for the best architectural solution. Besides, it enables architects to work in a more detailed way and at a scale the human hand cannot produce.
One can say, that 3D printing technology has not only been contributing to the competion of Gaudi’s project but probably also played a key role in speeding up the process. The cathedral is anticipated to be complete in 2026 and might look like this: