Form follows nature at the municipal cemetery of Añorbe, a small town in the Navarra region of Northern Spain. More landscape design than architectural presence, the new extension to the original cemetery by Pamplona-based MRM Arquitectos is planned with great sensitivity to its surroundings. Indeed the extension’s walls are actually inserted into the hillside on which it sits.
Beyond topography, the dusty tones of the hillside’s dry flora are matched by the untreated concrete blocks of the site’s walls – described by the architects as “built bare bones” – whose large perforations afford generous views out to the undulating Navarra landscape. The idea is that these openings in the walls will become overgrown in time, pulling the structure even closer into the bosom of the hillside.
Progression of use and the idea of bedding down in the landscape is the key to the Añorbe Cemetery’s design. Its austere walls and empty niches will gain purpose, taking people’s remains as the cemetery fills up, while nature will fill the site with life once again. I (gk)
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