Applus+ Laboratories tests the Sagrada Familia’s star, an iconic new fixture of Barcelona’s skyline


    Sitting 142.5 metres high atop the newest tower of Barcelona’s famous basilica, the steel and glass star will be illuminated for the very first time this week.

    Although the Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882, works are gaining momentum. Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece will eventually have 18 towers or spires, and construction of the biggest one yet, the Tower of the Virgin Mary, began earlier this year. Now finished, it is on this tower that the star sits, waiting for its formal introduction.


    The big reveal

    On 4th December, the base of the Tower of the Virgin Mary was lit for the first time, and tonight, 6th December, the full shaft will be illuminated to reveal the 12-point star sat atop of it. Until the Tower of Jesus Christ is completed, which will qualify the Sagrada Familia as the world’s tallest church, the 5.5-tonne star will be the highest point of the basilica.

    This Wednesday, 8th December, the star itself will be illuminated for the very first time, coronating the tower to officially mark its inauguration.


    Proud testing partners

    The safety and success of the star depend on the fabrication of its components, their assembly and their durability, particularly with regard to resistance to strong winds. Throughout the years, Applus+ Laboratories has been a trusted testing partner for the Sagrada Familia, and we were trusted again this time to validate the star as safe.

    For this, our mechanical testing lab in Barcelona was responsible for ensuring its structural integrity, running loading tests on one of the star’s arms to ensure it would be resistant enough to strong winds. As each of the 12 arms of the star would be identical and the star symmetrical, this would suffice to validate the resistance of the star as a whole.

    Using a laser tracker, Applus+ ZYX—a metrology company of Applus+ Laboratories—carried out the structure measurement serivce for deformation reporting during the loading tests. 

    The test results were optimal, and our team was pleased to give the go-ahead for an important new icon in Barcelona’s skyline.

    Credit for the photos at Sagrada Familia: Daniel Monfort

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