Roques Blanques Cementery in El Papiol
A landscape intervention that respects the topography of the Collserola Natural Park.
A new model of a cemetery, a path in the forest that reactivates a corner of the Collserola natural park, becoming the best place to deposit ashes. A technician margin that combines dead and living materials, a 100% biodegradable solution that adapts to the natural dynamics of the forest.
The project is located in the Roques Blanques regional cemetery in the municipality of El Papiol in Barcelona. The facility has a plot of 50 ha, integrated within the Collserola natural park, and currently occupies 30% of the available area. The action corresponds to the development of group 6, with an area of 2,000 m2, and consists of generating a large, very elongated green terrace with a path, the “Camí del Bosc”, prepared to house a total of 1,100 new graves.
This intervention based on respect and conservation of the environment in the natural setting of the Collserola Park is part of the last extension of the cemetery, inaugurated in 1985 with the Recovery of the Can Tintorer farmhouse and the first group, the 1, corresponding to one of the first projects carried out by the team of architects Batlle y Roig.
In recent years, traditional graves based on the burial of the deceased, tombs, pantheons, niches, ossuaries, and columbariums, have been losing demand in favor of a growing interest in cremation and new family rites of farewell from the ashes. . These burials allow new forms of burial with less environmental impact. Examples are the groups developed in the last decade called the ‘Bosc de la Calma’, ‘els Arbres Familiars’, or ‘la Font del Repòs’.
In this case, an innovative system based on bioengineering applied to the landscape is proposed to create ‘El Camí del Bosc’, and the ‘Jardí de les Papallones’. The Krainer wall used in this project has many advantages: it is a natural containment system, it generates the large green terrace located on the northern slope of the Collserola mountain range, it includes adequate and accessible space for the new graves, and it allows respecting and incorporating the existing arboreal vegetation, in addition to incorporating new plantations with local species. Its design is intended to be built quickly with natural materials from the nearby environment.
It is a technology that combines dead and living materials, it is usually called a double “living lattice”. It evolves over time, linking the very degradation of dead elements (the framework of logs) with the rooting and growth of living elements, the new shrubby plants. A natural dynamic that evokes the cycle of life: whose concept is intrinsic to the idiosyncrasy of cemeteries, a meeting point over time, between living people and their ancestors.
Learning from beavers, who build their shelters from logs, branches, and earth, with which they generate true constructions of ecological and biodegradable engineering in the form of water dams on the banks of rivers, the proposed Krainer wall consists of a retaining wall made from a double lattice of chestnut logs.
The organic urns are built with chestnut wood and are located in the framework, forming a construction with their own and integrated materials, as part of the natural biodynamics of the forest in which they are located.Livia ValentiniLandscape architect, Architect / Landscape / Senior Project Director
The Krainer wall becomes the most suitable place to locate the so-called ‘Jardí de les Papallones’ (butterfly garden). A new burial space that houses specific plant species and allows the creation of an aromatic and appropriate environment to give life to a great variety of pollinating insects, including butterflies.
The Krainer wall has been designed taking into account the importance of orientation and protection against atmospheric agents such as wind, becoming a protected and intensely sunny place, which ensures a generous and prolonged flowering during the year and protects the useful fauna of the place. To favor the presence of butterflies, shrub and herbaceous species have been selected with showy blooms and intense and contrasting colors. These species produce nectar as the main food for adult individuals, and their edible leaves nourish individuals in the larval stage.
The selected vegetation is autochthonous and adapted to local conditions, thus species such as rosemary, lavender, santolinas, dorycniums, and thyme have been planted, making reference to Mediterranean brollies and accompanied by other herbaceous plants such as oregano, the camomile, and the maritime Matricaria, so appreciated by our little insects.
The Butterfly Garden acts as a true enhancer of biodiversity that revitalizes the spaces of use of the Collserola Natural Park, an educational resource to observe, identify and study the insects and plants in our environment. Becoming a dynamic and open space that collaborates with the awareness of citizens, bringing them closer to nature.