Religious architecture will oftentimes feature a great deal of hidden symbolism. Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza’s Sanctuary of Arantzazu are two very different examples of architecture from different time periods that use the same methods of symbology. Both Gaudí and Sáenz de Oiza were religious men who used these types of symbolism in their work, which can be found throughout their respective careers as architects. This paper will focus on Gaudí’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, which is just one example of his architecture that contains these messages. Gaudí’s made a conscientious effort to fill the intricate structure, which was begun in 1883 and is still incomplete today, with symbols and hidden messages both inside and out. The second point of study, though lesser known, is the Sanctuary of Arantzazu in Basque Country. The sanctuary was built in 1951 yet displays the same means of architectural symbology that was used almost seventy years prior in Barcelona. This paper will explore the possibilities of the meanings behind the hidden symbolism in the works of both Antoni Gaudí and Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza. These hidden references allow insight to both the personal, religious, and professional life of the Spanish architects in their respective eras.
To further investigate these meanings behind the symbolism in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí and Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, this paper will consult books and articles such as Symbology of the Temple of the Sagrada Família by Albert Fargas Bespin as well as Architecture, Art and Technology in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu by Alonso-del-Val. It will also consult photographic evidence and draw theories based on the knowledge of Gaudí’s and Sanez de Oiza’s religious beliefs and the symbology present in these works of architecture.