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Katherine Shonfield

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While the Vatican was apologising to the world for assorted past errors last weekend, it was also busy with another, far more gratifying project: the first beatification ever of an architect.

Antonio Gaudi has been registered as a 'candidate', the first step to sainthood. Aspects of Gaudi's achievements which might qualify him for the honour make intriguing, but strangely familiar reading to anyone else minded to try for this most prestigious of gongs.

Professional competence

Leading assertions of Gaudi's sanctity is Japanese sculptor Esturo Sotoo, who, on beholding the Sagrada Familia, forthwith converted to Catholicism, thus proving that Gaudi's building capably fulfilled its client brief.

Can architects confident that their buildings, too, are fit for their purpose, now look forward to more permanent recognition than the Stirling prize?

People hate your buildings

Leaving aside the Aussie tour guide I had in 1980 who dubbed the architect of the Casa Mila 'Tony Gaudi, by all accounts, a bit of a nutcase', the French Prime Minister Clemenceau deemed Gaudi's work horrible and declared: 'In Barcelona they are building houses for dinosaurs and dragons'.

Getting qualified

Prominent among Gaudi's documented miracles is that through his celestial intervention someone obtained a university degree. In the course of my years in architecture schools, I have come to put the wondrous appearance between final crit and final exam of a full technology submission, down to the well-established method of getting your mates to graft for you - now revealed as a most grievous misapprehension.

Being a git at work

Antonio Gaudi was, by all reliable reports, intolerant, irascible and obsessional. I look forward to applications to Rome on behalf of all 28,000 Registered Architects.

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