In 1972, on the evening of a popular holiday, the ancient Romanesque Sanctuary of Meritxell caught fire and was destroyed. The building was left in blackened ruins, survived only by the original apse and vaulting over the altar and latter-day bell tower.
The task of rebuilding the Sanctuary could not be reduced to an archaeological work simply returning the fallen stones to their original position; nor could the strong influence of the local architectural character and landscape be ignored. The decision to continue along the historical path of Romanesque imagery, in theory, while applying modern building techniques and designs, in practice, was also based on the vision that the project had to go further than its program, acting as a counter-structure to the environmental degradation inherent in unplanned territories, and proposing a way of building in Andorra resulting from its past.
The two major elements of this project are the viaduct bridge and the sanctuary, although other elements on the line are as symbolically important such as (from east to west) the concave amphitheatre, the huge steps, the bridge over the road, the climbing towers, the vaulting arches, the esplanade, the convex theatre, the gushing fountain, the sculpted colonnade and the ride through the forest. The Sanctuary is now built with all its dependencies, manifesting a clear hint of projected continuation in the unfinished arches poised over the valley waiting to connect up with the future bridge.
Inspiration grew from the original Romanesque sources through the Albertian and Palladian neopythagorean use of square roots and circles, including the additions of certain Catalan-Mudéjar insinuations.
The entire surroundings of the Sanctuary were designed in a separate and late project. The design involved all paved surfaces, walkways, balustrades, steps, ramps, parking, etc. All landscaping involved the re-planting of the surrounding countryside and the remodelling and modernization of the old and derelict buildings in the area to be used as support dependencies.
(Text is from ricardobofill.com)