Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família surveys its surroundings more like a living beast than a mere building. No other structure in the world appears more as if it has been grown rather than built. This sense of evolution extends from its broad trunk-like base to its spindly and peculiarly organic towers which pierce the Barcelona sky.

This masterpiece of logical structures, forms and geometries is a fantastical example of what we now refer to as biomimetic architecture. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí was not simply inspired by nature, he believed that buildings could embody it.  He recognised that nature is a source for solutions, for which it is essential not just to replicate natural forms but to understand the rules governing these forms. Gaudí’s principle of “Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature” is what underpins modern day bionics. 

Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University, whose "constructal law" states that design in nature is a universal phenomenon of physics, calls Gaudí a “tightrope walker on the line bridging art and science. He understood that nature is constructed by laws of mathematics. What is strongest is inherently lightest and most efficient—and therefore most beautiful.”

The Sagrada Família is not just an example of beauty through nature, it is a testament to extraordinary perseverance during a construction period which has remarkably spanned more than 35 decades. 25% of the exterior stood at the time of Gaudí’s death in 1929. More than 80 years later it literally is still growing skyward, destined to peak at 172.5 metres high in 2026. It is a work of generations; a glorious confluence of ingenuity, conviction of principle and patience. As Gaudí no doubt anticipated in his words “My client is not in a hurry". 

The Sagrada Família epitomises collaboration, imagination and creativity. At Tomkins, we support those who dream big, follow their beliefs and aspire to inspire future generations. 


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