Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Cee’s Share Your World – 2014 Week 27

It’s time for another round of Cee’s Share Your World. Week 27. Year’s half over!

If you were the architect of one existing building, which building would you select?

In 1983 I enrolled in “Advertising Art”. I am absolutely convinced that the college accepted me strictly on the basis of my “mature student” status. That and my Ontario Scholar award from ten years prior. I had no portfolio to speak of. I hastily assembled a few samples of calligraphy and dashed off a still life – one green apple, water-colour, rendered on scrap computer paper . You know, the dot matrix printer paper. The 4 or 5 inches that is torn away to leave an  8 1/2 x 11″ sheet. In hindsight I cannot believe the nerve!

I did just fine in that course. While I lacked creativity, I was pleased to discover some technical skill. The academic work, which was minimal, was a cakewalk for me. Only one lecture/essay type course, and that was the History of Art.

Most of the class time was spent viewing slides of masterpieces through the ages. It was during one of these classes when I was introduced to architect Antoni Gaudí and his expiatory church of La Sagrada Família, in Barcelona.

The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is a work on a grand scale which was begun on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.

The building is in the centre of Barcelona, and over the years it has become one of the most universal signs of identity of the city and the country. It is visited by millions of people every year and many more study its architectural and religious content.

It has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset, 132 years ago now, it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: “The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.” The building is still going on and could be finished some time in the first third of the 21st century.

The cathedral completely captivates me due to the organic and somewhat whimsical lines. I am further impressed that there is no rush to finish this project. It will be completed when it is completed. A labour of love.

View of the Passion Façade (Western side) in September 2009 (cranes digitally removed) CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0,

View of the Passion Façade (Western side) in September 2009
(cranes digitally removed)

What is one of your favorite quotes?

Judge  not. Compare not. Let go the need to understand. Bill Watson

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Something that doesn’t show the dirt. So that leaves out whites and lights and blacks and darks. Which is mostly what I wear, because I’m not fussy about prints, stripes, plaids… So, I guess you could say, I’m comfortable wearing coffee-stained, cat hair-covered clothing.

What is something you learned in the last week?

Reiner and I went for a walk at the “Royal Bots” as my blogging buddy Elen calls ’em.  We took the boardwalk along the Grindstone Marsh Trail and came to a viewing platform. There we enjoyed close encounters with Redwing Blackbirds, bullfrogs, and the Bullhead Catfish. A school of the fish were lazing just below the surface, completely at ease and apparently not at all concerned about predators.

“Huh,” I said. “Wouldn’t they make a nice easy target for herons or raptors!”

“Nope,” said Reiner. He went on to explain that this species comes equipped with very sharp spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins. When they are caught, the fins shoot out and effectively increase their overall girth, making them very difficult if not impossible to swallow. Not to mention pokey.

Bullhead Catfish

Bullhead Catfish


Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that my course work is done. School is out for summer!

I’m anxious that my course work is done. I want to avoid the pitfalls I experienced last year. So this week, I joined up with the Building Rome Challenge.

Categories: Continuing Education

Tags: , , ,

36 replies

  1. I was lucky enough to visit the Sagrada Familia last year. I’d last been there in 1991 when it was still impressive but old, dark and a bit neglected (at least, that’s the memory I hold in my head). I couldn’t believe the transformation. I literally cried at the beauty of the new works.

    Love the quote. 🙂


  2. Your cathedral is enchanting.


  3. ANOTHER Gaudi ! Well, they are wonderful, no doubt about it.
    But I’d choose something by Glenn Murcutt. Chacune son goût. 😀


  4. I love the Sagrada Familia, a man driven by love to create. Religion on acid, wonderful…


  5. I am looking at that Passion Facade and wondering how you plug that sucker in and turn it on?

    Oh yeah, getting spiked by a bullhead is what psychologists call, “A one-time learning experience.” It don’t happen twice.

    My pond is too shallow for crappies or bass, so on my way home from working in Twin Cities each week, I stop by PetSmart and pick up two dozen gold fish. I hope I’m dumping them in heaven when let them go in the pond…. but I have yet to see one swimming free.


    • Isn’t the cathedral solar powered? 😉

      Regarding a one-time learning event: that’s exactly what I said yesterday – if an eagle caught one, it would catch one only once.

      I suppose, in a manner of speaking, your wee goldfish are getting to heaven… via some creature’s digestive system.


  6. That cathedral is quite unique. Very beautiful!


  7. Here’s 60 Minutes segment on this spectacular building – great video of the grand interior and exterior.


    • THANK you, Karen. I watched it through. The height will be doubled by the time it is finished in 12 years. Apparently the church was specifically designed to be 3 feet shorter than the tallest mountain in the region – in deference to God.


  8. Have you been to Barcelona? The Sagrada is jaw-dropping, breath-takingly, indescribably beautiful. I’ve been (re)writing a draft post on Gaudi and the church for two months and can’t condense it enough to and still convey the enormity of the project. In my opinion, it will never be finished, which is fine because the work in progress is as mystical as the completed parts.


    • I have not been, Sammy. I expect that the experience needs to be felt in person. Like taking a picture of a sunset or mountain range, photography and video captures images, but not the emotional and physic impact.


  9. We went to La Sagrada Familia in March and I blogged about it. Astonishing light and colour. Awe inspiring in the truest sense and yes, it will take a lot more time to complete but nobody seems worried. Well done for removing the cranes! We saw other Gaudi works and had mixed reactions but nothing could beat LSF.


  10. In June we had a Daily Prompt that asked if we could move a building , street food or view to our home town what would it be. I opted for Gaudi’s beautiful Sagrada Familia for two reasons ; one it is beautiful and the second was, I had visited it with my husband and we just stared for ages at the soaring columns. I have seen it twice and the last was 2002. Oh, to have it transported down the road from me were I can gaze to my heart’s content bringing back memories of happier times.


  11. I was in Barcelona a number of years ago and didn’t see the La Sagrada Família. The truth is, it poured rain the entire time we were there and I didn’t see much of anything. It appears I missed something quite spectacular. A good reason to go back some day! 😉

    … and what is it about cat hair that gives it that velcro quality to stick relentlessly to everything?!


  12. That building is extremely interesting. I’d like to see it up close. Thanks for sharing.


  13. That cathedral is amazing. What a great shot. Thanks for the link, Maggie!


  14. Thank you for the story of the church; I had not heard it , and it was fascinating! So beautiful!


  15. Fascinating church. Thanks for sharing.


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