Justo Gallego Martínez has created a 24,000 square foot cathedral that may be Spain’s best known visionary environment. As a youth, Gallego entered a monastery, but when he contracted tuberculosis before taking his vows, he was expelled.
On 12 October 1961 Gallego commenced the building work. There are no formal plans for the building. Gallego Martínez initially just levelled the ground and mapped out the ground-works on site. The building has evolved over time in response to opportunity and inspiration. One inspiration has been St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, the White House in the US, and various castles and churches in Spain.
The outer dimensions of the main building are 20×50 metres and the total built up area of about 8,000m2. Below the main building there is a crypt and adjacent there is a complex of minor chapels, cloisters, lodgings and a library. The dome of the main building (modelled on St. Peter’s Basilica) is about 40 metres in height, about 12 metres in diameter.
Most of the building materials and tools used for construction are recycled. This includes everyday objects and excess construction materials donated by construction companies and a nearby brick factory. For instance, the columns have been moulded with old petrol drums. The building work has been carried out without any crane.
It is estimated that it may take another 15 to 20 years to complete the building.