In 1898 Eusebi Güell asked Antoni Gaudí to build a church for the textile model village he had founded on the outskirts of Barcelona in 1890. The architect proposed an ambitious project, and devoted ten years to preliminary studies during which he developed an innovative “stereostatic” model of the church. The first stone was laid in October 1908 but six years later, in October 1914, Gaudí abandoned the works, after the project became economically unviable for the Güells. The church was to have one upper and one lower nave with 40-metre high towers, but only the first part was ever built, and the project has become popularly known as “the crypt” in its honour.
Although never finished, the Güell village church is considered one of Gaudí's masterpieces because it anticipates many of the structural solutions that the architect applied to the Sagrada Familia. The entrance porch consists of inclined columns and parabolic and hyperbolic vaults, used here for the first time in the history of architecture. This unique geometric form is repeated in the walls of the church, with a star-shaped profile pierced by large windows whose stained glass combines crosses with plant forms. Both walls and porch incorporate ornamental details in trencadis, using natural and religious motifs. In the interior, Gaudí achieved an open-plan space thanks to the use of inclined stone and brick pillars. Set over these columns, the catenary arches and ribs that support the ceiling constitute one of the most spectacular panaromas in the Gaudí universe.