Justo Gallego Martinez's Cathedral

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About the Artist/Site

Just east of Madrid, on farmland inherited from his family, 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. With his belief in the church bureaucracy broken but his religious faith intact, he returned to the family farm and began building his own house of worship. Using recycled materials and seconds donated by local building contractors, he has constructed his cathedral almost single-handedly, fashioning a cloister, crypt, and portico; myriad spiral staircases; and huge domes that rise over ten stories. Gallego’s building plans exist only in his head, and he has no background in architecture, art, engineering, or construction. He has built his cathedral without written plans or construction permits, and so cannot obtain the licenses necessary to have the building serve for the religious use for which it is intended. As Gallego continues to work, the public is generally allowed access to the ground floor and interior courtyard, but not to the upper levels. It is unclear what the status will be upon his demise.

~Jo Farb Hernández


SPACES Archives Holdings

The SPACES archive contains digital photographs, 2008, clippings, and Laia Rosa-Armengol’s essay published in the 2006 book Escultecturas Margivagantes.

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 40.416886 / -3.700301


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