Architecturally, Spain has been in the news for quite sometime with its economic problems, ghost towns and for Calatrava’s Valencia complex that costed Spain €1.2 billion against the initial €300 million cost estimation. Regardless, while the country has been trying hard to fight its way through the crisis, Spanish octogenarian Justo Gallego Martinez has been busy building his own cathedral since 1961, a whopping 53 years!
Martinez started with the project from scratch, using salvaged materials including oil drums and bricks donated from an old factory among other scraps. Several Spanish architects have begun consulting pro bono for the project while some critics feel the project needs to be pulled down. With Martinez at 88, the project has begun to move rather slowly especially during winters when he only works indoors. While Martinez has received his fair share of appreciation and criticism, his contribution as a non-architect to architecture is noteworthy.
Martinez is not sure when he or whether he will be able to complete the cathedral and plans on bequeathing it to the church in the hope that some day, it shall stand completed. Critics and several architects have been quick to point out how Martinez seems concerned to complete the cathedral yet, at every point it seems like he has made it impossible for himself to do so.
The cathedral in some ways, might be reminiscent of works that become monuments before their completion and stand in ruins today. (Via BBC, InHabitat, Getty Images)