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Extension of the Roques Blanques Metropolitan Cemetery in El Papiol in the Collserola Natural Park

An innovative landscape intervention for a new ephemeral burial model based on nature.

Camí del bosc al Cementiri de Roques Blanques al Parc Natural de Collserola, Barcelona
Camí del bosc al Cementiri de Roques Blanques al Parc Natural de Collserola, Barcelona

Forest path in the Roques Blanques Cemetery in the Collserola Natural Park, Barcelona

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.

Authors

Batlleiroig Arquitectura. Enric Batlle Durany, Joan Roig i Duran, Iván Sánchez Fabra – Architect

Team

Livia Valentini, Carmen Guerrero – Architect and landscape architect / Elisabeth Torregrosa Avilés, Laura Luque Pan – Building engineer / Dolors Feu – Agricultural engineer and landscape architect / Marta Sanz Cuso – Architect

Collaborators

Naturalea – Consultant in bioengineering and landscape rehabilitation techniques, Cave Terram – Environmental consultancy, WorldNature – Consultant in nature conservation and environmental awareness

Promoter

GIC – Áltima

Construction company

Naturalea, Excavacions Petit, Santin Jardineria i Paisatge

Project status

In progress

Start date

2017

Total area

8.909 m2

Awards

Premis Catalunya Construcció 2018 – Camí del Bosc

MORE THAN 40 YEARS OF HISTORY

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 Roques Blanques cemetery, inaugurated in 1985 with the recovery of the Can Tintorer farmhouse and the first group, corresponding to one of the first projects carried out by batlleiroig.

BUILDING WITH NATURE: ‘THE KRAINER WALL’

In recent years, traditional graves based on the burial of the deceased, such as 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, that allow new forms of burial with less environmental impact. Other groups developed in Roques Blanques in the last decade are a good example, such as the Forest of calm, the Family trees or the Rest fountain.

In this case, an innovative system based on bioengineering applied to the landscape is proposed to create the Forest path and the Butterfly garden. In this case, the Krainer wall is used, a solution that has many advantages: it is a natural containment system that generates a large green terrace located on the north slope of the Collserola mountain range and includes an adequate and accessible space for the new graves. It also allows respecting and incorporating the existing tree vegetation, as well as 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 and is often called a double “living framework”. This evolves over time, linking the degradation of dead elements (the logs framework) with the rooting and growth of living elements (new shrub 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 soil, with which they generate true constructions of ecological and biodegradable engineering, formalizing themselves as water dams on the banks of the rivers. This is how the Krainer wall proposed on the Forest path works, as a retaining wall made from a double framework of chestnut trunks.

© Jordi Surroca
An intervention based on respect and conservation of the environment in the natural setting of Collserola Park. / © Jordi Surroca
An innovative 100% biodegradable technology is used on the Forest path, responding to the needs of the project, while improving and strengthening the ecosystem of the Collserola Natural Park Livia ValentiniLandscape architect, Architect / Landscape / Senior Project Director

Building for nature: "The Butterfly garden"

The Krainer wall becomes the most suitable place to locate the so-called Butterfly garden, a new burial space that houses specific plant species and allows the creation of an appropriate aromatic environment to give life to a great variety of pollinating insects, among them, the butterflies.

This system 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 that 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 striking blooms and intense and contrasting colors. These species produce the nectar that serves as the main food for adult individuals and provides edible leaves to nourish individuals in the larval stage.

The selected vegetation is indigenous and adapted to local conditions. Species such as rosemary, lavender, santolina, dorycniums and thyme have been planted, making reference to mediterranean brolles, accompanied by other herbaceous plants such as oregano, chamomile and feverfew, 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, functioning as an educational resource to observe and identify the flora and fauna of our environment and becoming a dynamic and open space that collaborates with the awareness of citizens and brings them closer to nature.

© Jordi Surroca
The living double framework is a 100% biodegradable solution that adapts to the natural dynamics of the forest. / © Jordi Surroca
Awards

El Camí del bosc del Cementiri de Roques Blanques rep el premi EMAS 2018 a la millora del comportament mediambiental.

Read more
El Camí del bosc del Cementiri de Roques Blanques rep el premi EMAS 2018 a la millora del comportament mediambiental.
Awards

El Camí del bosc, al cementiri de Roques Blanques, guanya el premi Catalunya Construcció 2018 a la innovació.

Read more
El Camí del bosc, al cementiri de Roques Blanques, guanya el premi Catalunya Construcció 2018 a la innovació.