The visionary whose designs have been realized in La Sagrada Familia was already well known in Barcelona when he took on responsibility for the basilica in 1883. He continued the work until his death in 1926. As he was walking to church for his daily prayers he was hit by a tram. He died three days later, on June 10, 1926.
Gaudi did not put most of his ideas for La Sagrada Familia on paper. Instead, he created three-dimensional models, some of which can be seen in the museum of the basilica. It is largely from these models that construction has proceeded. The church we see today takes its form from Gaudi’s original plans.
Many of Antoni Gaudi’s designs are “playful” and take their form from nature. One of his most famous structures is Casa Mila. People were lined up to buy expensive tickets to enter when I walked past that on a Saturday afternoon. Another is Park Guell, a unique and delightful place in Barcelona, enjoyed by children and adults.
Elinor Moore wrote to me about a book on Gaudi that she enjoyed. It is Gaudi: A Biography by Gijs van Hensbergen. Thanks, Elinor!
Wikipedia has a lengthy article about Mr. Gaudi here.
A list with photos of all his buildings can be found here.