The intervention aims to obtain the necessary burial space by designing a new wing between the ancient perimeter wall of the church courtyard and the north border of the cemetery. The new geometry takes up the planimetric shape of the existing cemetery, reinterpreting the architectural elements that characterize the area in a contemporary key. The new area is redrawn through a translation and rotation of the border and adapting to the morphology of the terrain.
The intent is to create a clear contrast that allows to highlight the emblematic historical cemetery and to create a synergy with it so as to enhance the ancient Kirchhof (graveyard).
The site of the new cemetery occupies the slope to the north of the old cemetery and the upstream part to the east.
The retaining wall between the old and new cemetery was cut at a height of about 1m in order to allow visual continuity between the two cemeteries. The new cemetery space rises at a slightly higher altitude than the old one. This difference in level allows the two spaces to be kept separate in order to guarantee perfect recognition of the places and respect for the existing spatial characteristics. The new cemetery area is connected to the old cemetery by a ramp so as to obtain a legible detachment between the new and old spaces.
From here you can access both the courtyard and a covered area where the cinerary urns and ossuary are located; this area also guarantees the possibility of performing religious functions outdoors. To emphasize the sacredness of this space, it was decided to insert a large skylight that acts as a link between the columbarium space and the retaining wall to the north. The light entering from the zenith of a large opening in the form of a truncated pyramid falls on the surfaces of the concrete walls and creates a changing, ephemeral geography of shadows. The burial area is surrounded by a wall which is in continuity with the existing one further downstream. This wall continues along the perimeter of the cemetery to form the structures for containing the embankment. The thickness of the extruded boundary wall allows various functions to be arranged there: a warehouses, the ossuary and the columbarium. The projections above the retaining wall create a portico that, following local tradition, embraces the courtyard where interment takes place, offering a sheltered place to visitors. This space is equipped with a seat and a small fountain.
The simplicity of the shape fits into the original topography of the land by prolonging the horizontal mark of the perimeter walls of the church area. The result is an ideal extension of the ancient architectural theme of the courtyard of the churches, intended not only as cemeteries, but also as multifunctional public spaces.
In the historiography of the public space of mountain villages, the cemetery is part of everyday life, not a place reserved for occasional visits: the cemetery becomes a resting place and an opportunity to live and enjoy the landscape.
The perimeter walls were made of sandblasted concrete so as to resume the plaster finish of the existing wall. The internal walls of the portico are in exposed concrete with vertical wooden staves.
The niches of the columbaria are of two sizes. The double niches are closed by a panel in anthracite painted galvanized steel. The single niches are closed with a bronze steel panel. Next to each single panel a niche has been created where a small lamp is mounted. The contrast between the concrete and bronze of the panels and lamps is the only stylistic note in an otherwise austere and deliberately abstract context.
Help us understand why this project should be awarded:
The cemetery is the place of worship, meditation and silence.
For that reason, I want this space to communicate directly and intimately with the user.
The space has to speak for itself.
Nowadays, distraction is a way of life, and constant communication is a habit. We live in a time of constant interference: a constant background noise characterizes our days.
And when we encounter silence, we experience it as an anomaly; instead of appreciating it, we feel uncomfortable.
But how to design a cemetery as a place of silence?
Simplify spaces and materials. To remove the unnecessarily.
The forms should speak simply through light and shadow.
Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light,
said Le Corbusier. This space is designed to speak through light and shadow, through the balance with historical context and landscape.
Name of the project: ALBES CEMETERY EXTENSION
Project category: Public Project – Religious Spaces
Role of the entrant in the pr. : Lead Architect
Architects / authors: Lead Architect:
Stefano Peluso Architecture – Bressanone (BZ) Italy
Engineering: Ing. Maurizio Staglianò – Bressanone (BZ) Italy
Light consultants: Büro Von Lutz, Chiusa (BZ) Italy
Client: Municipality of Bressanone (BZ) Italy – Department of Public Works
Location: Albes (BZ) – Italy / 46°40’36.4″N 11°37’58.3″E
Desig Year: 2017
Year built: 2018