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Unfinished cathedral gets virtual boost

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Barcelona's Sagrada FamiliaBuilders on Antoni Gaudi's landmark Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona are to get helping hand in realising the Spanish architect's vision - in the form of new software from Dassault Systemes and IBM.

For nearly 80 years, architects and masons have struggled to interpret the models which represent the only means of reference left by architect Gaudi after his premature death in 1926. The first stone for the moumental project was laid in 1882, but the cathedral stands unfinished. The project's trustee - the Sagrada Familia Foundation - now hopes that computer-generated virtual replicas of Gaudi's models will accelerate the building process a little.

The Foundation's head, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, said this week: "There are still a number of challenges to overcome, and we have not yet found answers to all of Gaudi's ideas, for instance the cross that will be installed at the top of the cathedral.

"It will probably take us another 20 years to get to that stage, but I am sure the technologies we are using from IBM and Dassault Systemes are helping us make faster progress in the project," he concluded. ®

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