Amoretti, Calvi, Ramalli: cemetery extension

With the views carved out between the blocks of the tombs, the presence of the sea and the old cemetery can always be sensed inside the extension. Words and pictures by Aldo Amoretti.

The extension occupies a strip of land between the wall of the old cemetery and the road along the seafront. Ground level (+ 5m) is at an intermediary level between sea level and the level of the old cemetery (+ 8m). The entrance, at road level on the seafront (+ 2m) was built beforehand. The scheme was laid out on the basis of the typical layout found in old cemeteries in the area, where the rectangular graves (mounds of earth or slabs of stone) are laid out in rows on the site. In response to a request by the public authorities to build vaults lined with burial niches, certain surfaces in the plan layout were extruded in order to create the volumes in which to place the burial niches.

The resulting prismatic blocks are made up of load-bearing sections of concrete to which is fixed the vertical cladding and roof in white marble. The overall effect of the extension when seen from the old cemetery, at a higher level, is an expanse of gravestones. Moving around at ground level in the extension, the presence of the sea and the old cemetery can be perceived with views carved in the voids between the blocks of tombs. This simple scheme has made it possible to avoid constructing boundary walls, to concentrate diverse functions in a single repeated element, carving out the necessary routes and spaces simply by shifting the solids in space, offering dimensional control during building works with the use of a basic 30 cm module. The work was carried out within the small public budget (250 €/mq). Keeping costs down has meant that the council can offer the tombstones at a reasonable price.

Cemetery extension at Santo Stefano al Mare (IM)
Architects: Aldo Amoretti, Marco Calvi, Giancarlo Ranalli
Design Team: Aldo Amoretti, Marco Calvi, Giancarlo Ranalli
Realization: 2006

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