There is no doubt that technology is a trend affecting almost all professional fields including architecture. Within this movement, a series of innovative strategies has emerged. Among them, and probably one of the most affecting systems which links computer design to construction, is the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). In order to reach to the roots of the beginnings of application of CAM technology in architecture, one of the most important and unfinished projects designed by Antoni Gaudí, the Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain, will be taken into consideration. This masterpiece, defined as a challenging work of great geometrical complexity, started in 1882 and has been always short of tools to be built, thus proving that Gaudí was an architect ahead of his time. It has been noticed since the beginning that non-conventional ways of designing and building had to be applied. As a result a very slow development of the project on site was appreciated. Once the design process was rationalized, the challenging amount of data needed to be translated to workers on site in order to execute a specific component was high and human resources were noticed not to be sufficient. By introducing high tech tools, both software and hardware, the process of designing and building of the Sagrada Família is becoming more dynamic, keeping the reliability of Gaudí’s design principles, and a faster, optimized and totally consistent product which comes directly from the designers’ parameters and guidelines. With the help of high tech systems, it was possible to optimize time and material in construction, in addition to defining a series of options for components before approval, with the aesthetic precision needed to be followed in order to comply with Gaudí’s principles. With such a system, it was possible to build an architectural component fully automated in the early 1990s, being this fact not just a total success, but an unprecedented way to build architecture with the help of high tech tools.


Dr. Halabi, Marwan