Watch this brief video about a man in his 90s who has spent 53 years building a cathedral near Madrid by hand – solely his own. Not sure what I think of the cathedral’s design. There seem clear references, at least in his roughly traditional sensibility, to Gaudi. Perhaps Justo Gallego’s technique reveals his lack of an architectural education – but that’s a good thing. Nor does he have any formal training in construction. No education could have taught him how to build anything by himself – only why not to. Although he has not completed his cathedral, it is already amazing. Does he plan to fill in the dome and towers as he has filled in the walls and windows with such charm? His ambition runs on faith, but I wonder whether the church has a congregation. Is it built on his own land? How has he financed it? The video doesn’t go into such details. Such whimsicality is its own reward, at least for those who see it. I trust that Justo Gallego’s reward springs from his faith, and his faith is anchored in firmer rock than whimsy.
Hats off to Gary Brewer for sending the article, from a website called Colossal, and its video to TradArch.