Elizabeth Boorman January 29, 2015

The great architect Antoni Gaudí knew the importance of moving from a 2D plane to a 3D one when he was designing his magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia. He knew that by holding something in your hand, you can instantly get a better idea of the way a decorative feature or intricate element would look on a building when compared with a static 2D drawing. That is why since the project’s official start in 1882, Gaudi and his predecessors would often handcraft models of the elaborate building to get a better understanding of the design.


©SBA73, Flickr Creative Commons

However, creating the models from hand is an expensive and laborious task, so the team was happy to discover Additive Manufacturing in 2001 to save time and money. With 3D Printing, they are even able to print models of Gaudí’s modernist vision that are too complex to make by hand.

Sagrada Familia Magics

Since turning to 3D Printing in 2001, the team has relied on Materialise’s Magics software to prepare their designs for the printer. Among other things, they use Magics to fix their files, cut the pieces into printable sizes and add small pins and perforations so that these pieces easily fit together.

Sagrada Familia and Magics
Sagrada Familia and Magics

Through printing parts of this grand project, the architects and others involved have been able to visualize the construction, ultimately reducing the time needed on each section and leaving more time for architectural questions about the whimsical, spiky forms and highly-designed, pointed arches.

Sagrada Familia Magics for 3D Printing
Sagrada Familia Magics for 3D Printing

Using Magics has helped keep this vision together, and with its aid the cathedral is anticipated to be complete in 2026.

©Jacinta Lluch Valero
©Jacinta Lluch Valero/Flickr

Learn more about this case and how the Sagrada Familia consortium is using Magics.