Burry’s Glorious Gaudi
Melbourne-based Mark Burry, executive architect and researcher on the Temple Sagrada Família project in Barcelona, “is lost for words to describe how he felt at the consecration by Pope Benedict XVI” in November 2010. “You pinch yourself,” Burry says. You would. It’s been 31 years since Sagrada Família, the unfinished, polarising masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, became his life’s work. Burry, who collaborates in parametric design with leading architectural firms around the world, has no doubts the continuation of Sagrada Família is true to Gaudi’s vision. His evidence resides, as it did 31 years ago, in the models and a few remaining drawings Gaudi left behind. Plus a conviction that Gaudi had always expected the building would be finished by others who would bring their own skills and vision to the job. Each column follows the Gaudi codex unlocked by Burry and others over the last 30 years — comprising a hyperboloid with four hyperbolic paraboloids intersecting seamlessly top and bottom. “Gaudi never built a column like that,” Burry says. “We’ve used the geometries in a way he has used surfaces before, but I doubt even in a month of Sundays he would be able to make the column this way.” It is hoped the Sagrada Família will be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. Burry and his partner Jane have just written a book, The New Mathematics of Architecture. Major feature reported by Chris Barton, New Zealand Herlad, Auckland.