Though construction of Sagrada Familia had commenced in 1882, Gaudi took over in 1883, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style — combining Gothic and curvilinear, Art Nouveau forms with ambitious structural columns and arches.
Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War — only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026 — the centennial of Gaudí's death.
The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona — over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudi's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudi's death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed train could disturb its stability.