Chilean chapel will become Gaudí's first project outside Spain

News: a chapel originally designed by Antoni Gaudí for the Sagrada Família in Barcelona is set to be constructed in Chile, 90 years after the Catalan architect's death.

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has announced plans to fund construction of the Gaudí Cultural and Spiritual Center in the city of Rancagua, including the chapel "Our Lady of the Angels" – expected to be the architect's first completed project outside Spain.

The main tower will be covered with lapis lazuli – a deep-blue stone that is mined in Chile – and will be topped with a copper cross.

Chilean chapel will become Gaudí's first project outside Spain

Gaudí, who was born in 1852 and died in 1926, remains one of Spain's most influential architects. His works, which combine elements of various international decorative styles including Art Nouveau and neo-Gothic, are known for their organic shapes and frequent use of ornate, brightly coloured mosaics and glasswork.

Chilean Franciscan Friar Angélico Aranda wrote to Gaudí in 1922, asking that the architect design him a chapel "as only you can do", and offering payment in prayers.

The architect had already designed a similar chapel for the Sagrada Família basilica, his largest and most important work, which began construction in Barcelona in 1882 earning him the nickname "God's Architect".

Gaudí offered this chapel design to Aranda. "It would be a test of spiritual fellowship between Spain and America," he replied. The chapel is now likely to be finished before the Sagrada Familia itself, which is still being built according to Gaudí's designs.

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The realisation of the design follows a long-running campaign by Chilean non-profit organisation Corporación Gaudí de Triana to find funding for the project.

The new centre, slated for completion in 2017, will be located within the 14-hectare Parque Cataluña, at the junction between La Avenida Alameda and El Antiguo Camino Real.

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Original sketch of Gaudi's Our Lady of the Angels chapel

As well as the 30-metre-high chapel, it will feature subterranean multi-purpose spaces, an exhibition gallery dedicated to Gaudí's work and a pair of large public plazas.

"We have no doubt it will be a tremendous asset to the city of Rancagua," said Bachelet. "The Gaudí Centre is destined to become a point of attraction and an indispensable reference for Region VI. "

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Original sketch of Gaudi's Our Lady of the Angels chapel

Project architect Christian Matzner told Chilean radio station Cooperativa that the chapel was designed in 1915 and is based on the work of Spanish architect Luis Bonifacio at Girona Cathedral.

It will be oriented on the Barcelona-Rancagua axis, and will also feature 20 stone oculi carved in the Mediterranean city.

Chilean chapel will become Gaudí's first project outside Spain
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All images are courtesy of Corporación Gaudí de Triana.