Since globalization, new technologies and social media have taken most of our daily life, it seems very unlikely that in today’s world there is still place for traditional methods and handmade works. Nevertheless, there is at least one person that proves this is not true: Justo Gallego Martínez, a 90-year-old men who has been building a cathedral by himself for 50 years. He uses mostly recycling materials and architectural knowledge he has gained during the process of construction as he does not have previous training of any kind in the field of architecture.
The reason why he decided to engage in such a challenge was faith. Back in 1961 27-year-old Justo joined a monastery from which he would be expelled shortly after he got infected with tuberculosis. Fortunately he recovered from this illness and as a sign of gratitude to God he started erecting this cathedral. However, even though Justo himself calls his work “cathedral” the building has not been accepted nor recognized as such by the Church yet.
The field where Justo started the construction is his legacy. It is located in Mejorada del Campo (a small town close to Madrid), it has a surface of 4740 square meters and it is 35 meters high. The value of the Cathedral is estimated at 1,170,000 euros. There does not exist construction plans or projects. According to Justo everything is in his head. Surely this place is worth visiting.
Justo’s master piece went global in 2005 when the company Aquarius created an advertising campaign in which he and his cathedral had the leading role. Additionally, the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA) dedicated a photo exhibition to this work.