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A model of Our Lady of Angels Chapel (all images courtesy of Corporación Gaudí de Triana)

Antoni Gaudí may have died nearly nine decades ago, but a never-built chapel the architect designed in 1915 is finally coming to life. When completed in 2017, Our Lady of Angels Chapel at the Gaudí Cultural and Spiritual Center in Rancagua, Chile, will be the first building by the Catalan master constructed outside of Spain, ArchDaily reported.

“This is a space designed to reflect and to imagine, to discover in the visible, in what nature shows us, as Gaudí liked to say, the keys to innovation, beauty, and originality,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said at a December press conference.

Christian Matzner, the architect overseeing the project, told ArchDaily that the chapel is a “hyperboloid,” a geometric form Gaudí also used throughout his masterpiece, the minor basilica La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The chapel’s base will be a square whose sides are all roughly 33 feet long, and its roof will reach nearly 100 feet into the air. Inside, a central altar will honor Saint Mary of the Angels, and a crypt will hold the remains of the Franciscan Friar Angélico Aranda, who first asked Gaudí to design the chapel for his country.

“I wish to implement an original work, very original, and I thought of you,” Aranda first told Gaudí in a 1922 letter, specifically requesting something similar to the Porziuncola, a small chapel just outside Assisi that is also dedicated to Mary. In response, Gaudí offered Aranda a design for a chapel he had originally created for La Sagrada Familia’s apse several years earlier. “This project would serve as a spiritual fellowship between Spain and America,” he wrote back. Little did either of them know that nearly a century later it would also become Aranda’s tomb.

Croquis of Our Lady of Angels Chapel

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Laura C. Mallonee

Laura C. Mallonee is a Brooklyn-based writer. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU and a B.F.A. in painting from Missouri State University. She enjoys exploring new cities and...

3 replies on “Chile Will Erect Antoni Gaudí’s First Building Outside of Spain”

  1. Just for the record, Sagrada Familia is not a cathedral and was never meant to be one.

    The word cathedral doesn’t simply mean “big-ass church”. A cathedral is the church where a bishop has his seat (in the sense of both chair and headquarters/home base; the Latin word cathedra means throne). The Archbishop of Barcelona is still based at the same cathedral his predecessors have been using for 700 years or so.

  2. Shouldn’t it read “33 feet square” rather than “33 square feet”? The latter would mean each wall is about 5’9″ wide. On the model the chapel’s height appears to be about triple it’s width.

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