The isolated location of the cemetery and the municipality itself, perched on the hillside of San Martin, define architectural design criteria at a great scale, based on the relationship with the landscape and the absence of formal and functional continuity with the urban morphology of the town. The architecture of the cemetery is inserted into the territory as a new trace, a physical reference of the terrain.
The formalization of the program is based on the enclosure of the new cemetery with walls reinterpreted from the existing: shapers of the landscape, adapting to it, to its topography, containing it, barely delimiting it, concave and convex, like Corbusian formal echoes, incorporating their views, the landscape and the generic sky, integrated in it.
The new walls rearrange and rewrite, add new meanings and re-signify the whole from the pre-existence of the wall of the old cemetery. Their partial transparency allows a mediation in relation to the landscape and avoid their mass, closed perception.
Despite the intrinsic staticity of the program, the work takes on a huge dynamism as one travels through it, it is somehow activated in movement, revealing the relationships with the environment, where any path is a succession of changing sequences, drawing different perceptions and allowing to re-read and re-understand the same surrounding landscape.
The building is constructed naked, a skeleton half-buried, presence of the absence that grows there, that saves and contains the time of everybody, its own time represented in each placed block piece. The wall is not only there but its own time happens every time it is before us.
Compositional and landscape criteria
The project arises from the redefinition of an indoor enclosure traditionally closed, vacant from the landscape and underutilized. Through the design of a discontinuous, less impermeable limit, it improves the continuity of the landscape, winds, light and nature, immutable elements of landscape and time.
An architecture charged with relationships from which it derives its forms. The opposition of positive – negative, concave – convex, space – matter, allow to draw the landscape project from these considerations.
The built walls shed their cladding and are presented in their pure structure, emptied of any unnecessary construction or coatings, therefore revealing the qualities described above. Thus, their shape evokes the metaphor of the presence of the absences that remain in our memory and that buried there, grow.
These walls soften or eliminate corners as a final organic adaptation process to nature from the urban fabric through the old cemetery. The existing cemetery is modified on both ends to enable a new internal circulation and a covered morgue.
The shapes of the discontinuous wall, its material lightened and decontextualized from its usual binomial function-form, enable the reading of a design intended to be above its use, form, and common construction practices.
The proposed program consists of the expansion of the reserved space for 100-120 graves on the ground, 60 niches and 31 columbarium, as well as the rearrangement of the exterior areas and their formal and functional relationship with the existing cemetery.
Functional and gardening criteria
The new extension adds two new smaller, more intimate spaces, and two more open areas, besides the modified enclosure of the existing cemetery.
The design of the walls allows maintaining the current topography of the plot, avoiding earthworks and construction of retaining walls overly aggressive with the landscape. As this is not a closed wall, it allows the terrain to slope naturally, and the trees to enter seamlessly into the cemetery, favoring the integration of the cemetery with the existing native landscape.
The walls that articulate and define our project are proposed as glazes that, through more or less transparency, ensure privacy where needed.
The enclosures of the cemetery will be progressively covered in vegetation in certain places. The central area and the outline will be replanted with native trees from the hillside, the interior will be planted with other more ornamental trees.