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Sagrada Familia art installation by DRIFT
Image: DRIFT

These incredible drone displays show what unfinished buildings could look like

Art installation companies have envisaged what structures like the Sagrada Familia, Colosseum and Whitby Abbey would look like if complete

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Ever since construction began nearly a century ago, people have wondered what Barcelona’s magnificent Sagrada Familia cathedral will look like when it’s actually finished. Gaudi’s masterpiece is set to be completed in 2026 – but we wouldn’t blame you for wanting a sneak peek before then. 

And that’s exactly the aim of Dutch art installation duo DRIFT, which uses images of drones to envisage what the completed Sagrada Familia will look like. Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn’s company call its installations ‘aerial sculptures’ and they’re designed to imagine the future of architectural projects. 

DRIFT has been crafting its images of life-size drone sculptures since 2020. The buildings they’ve featured range from speculative buildings to structures that will, one day, eventually be finished (like the Sagrada Familia). 

They also use the same technique to ‘reconstruct’ ruined buildings, such as Rome’s Colosseum.

Here are a couple more examples of DRIFT’s work, featuring the Colosseum and a (fictional) skyscraper in Chicago.

Colosseum art installation by DRIFT
Image: DRIFT
Chicago art installation by DRIFT
Image: DRIFT

Pretty spectacular, right? DRIFT creates these installations in collaboration with companies Drone Stories and Nova Skystories – and it’s not the only company using this technique to imagine what unfinished buildings could look like. Drone light show company Cyberdrone also reconstructs ruined structures using drone images.

Here’s a few examples, showing what Whitby Abbey in the UK, Plovdiv Amphitheatre in Bulgaria and the ruins of Soli in Turkey could’ve looked like in their prime. 

Plovdiv amphitheatre ruins reimagined with drones by Cyberdrone Drone Shows
Image: Cyberdrone
Turkey temple ruins reimagined with drones by Cyberdrone Drone Shows
Image: Cyberdrone
Whitby Abbey ruins reimagined with drones by Cyberdrone Drone Shows
Image: Cyberdrone

These installations are impressive enough on the screen, but you might even be able to see them IRL. DRIFT says it hopes to one day create their sculptures in real life, with actual drones. Keep an eye on the duo’s website here for more updates.

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