WHATEVER AN ARCHITECT COMES UP WITH IN TERMS OF SHAPE AND CONCEPT, THE APPEARANCE AND THE FORM ARE ULTIMATELY SUBSERVIENT TO THE FUNCTION. NEVERTHELESS, AS A TRUE ARTIST, THE ARCHITECT SEARCHES FOR LIBERTIES IN HIS DESIGN, THUS ENLARGING OUR WORLD OF SHAPES.
The very best example from architectural history is perhaps the Cénotaphe à Newton, designed by Etienne-Louis Boullée in 1783 in honour of Isaac Newton, the originator of the theory of gravity. This design, a sphere supported by two cylinders, is a utopian idea that defies the laws of gravity. However it is not only the genius of Newton that is celebrated in this design; it is equally a stimulus to architects not to be satisfied simply with earthly and everyday things. Only the sublime is good enough. Gaudí developed his revolutionary ‘language of shapes’ from a completely different angle. His guiding principle was actually the ultimate earthliness. The laws of gravity are investigated by means of a system of chains. In order to investigate the lines of force of his constructions, he stretched wires within a framework. The result was the Sagrada Familia. The first stone was laid in 1882. Due to the innovative construction and use of materials, finishing the church has become an interesting adventure.