It has always fascinated me how we perceive architecture in modern terms. It is often either considered this jewel box of divine creation, or an economic machine of utility. either way, we often view it as static. Yes of course the people, decoration and additives are a variable, but very rarely do we consider a building as morphing at a tangible pace. During construction, it is a period of transformation. The caterpillar is not analyzed for its beauty while it is still in its cocoon. Instead we just wait for the yellow ribbon to be snipped in order to make judgement. But what is the value of this? Is construction purely something we endure, waiting for the future product to make up for it? What about a project like Sagrada Familia, where there is an ever-expanding finish date? Can we not start to analyze the architecture of the construction? Is it not something just as integral to the form since it is the literal embodiment of structural need? Much of this scaffolding has been in place longer than temporary pavilions. Heck, it has been around longer than Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion was originally constructed. Sagrada Familia’s entire attraction is based on the hopefulness of the end result, but for many circuiting the tourist routes, they will most likely only see it in one state of construction. For them it will always have the scaffolding engulfing the southern facade and two cranes rounding out the forest of towers. I believe that there is validity in this. We need to start recognizing construction not as an economic band-aid but as a form of art itself.
From there the possibilities become much wider. We can start to look at a building from its inception; how it can be generated not to create a preconceived form, but an evolution based on need, cost, and light. The artistry becomes masterful at a smaller scale, with programmatic designation becoming a more fluid and diagrammatic play. Even more important, a building is never truly done evolving. We must recognize this, and adapt. It is ironic that a century old building becomes one of the most innovative in the world for recognizing this need. I hope I never live to see the day of its “completion.”