Forest path in the Roques Blanques Cemetery in the Collserola Natural Park, Barcelona
An innovative landscape intervention for a new ephemeral burial model based on nature.
The Roques Blanques Cemetery is characterized by being the most important Public Cemetery - by size and capacity - and by being exemplary both in its mixed management system and in its environmental integration within the Collserola Natural Park.
The Roques Blanques cemetery is located in Serra of Collserola in Barcelona. The place’s image is largely determined by a very irregular topography, with slopes between 15% and 30% and a wooded nature resulted from the abundance of pines, evergreens, and deciduous oaks. In order to adapt the project to this singular topography, it was decided to design the recessed niches as retaining walls, which produced terraces like those once used to farm hilly land.
These terraces are grouped in twos and threes so as to form enclosures. The fine aggregate used for paths and planted native species is combined with more typical garden trees (palms, planes, cedars, etc.) and shrubs trimmed into geometric shapes, which altogether give the place the air of an abandoned garden embedded in the landscape. In front of the walls, a stylized pergola with ivy, jasmine, and wisteria serves to create a more private enclosure while contributing to an overall language for the whole. In this way, we reduce the form of agricultural settlement typical of the Mediterranean, as well as that of the gardens located in places with similar topography.
The implementation project stands out for its careful adaptation to the surrounding topography and for its environmental integration in the wooded environment in which it is immersed.Joan Roig i DuranArchitect / Founding Partner
Landscape integration was achieved through the use of traditional agricultural language: slopes, retaining walls, and terraces that organize the different spaces for reflection. Also through the use of the endemic vegetation of the area combined with the vegetation of the Mediterranean garden. The terrace, conceived as a garden, is lined with native species to give continuity to the surrounding forests.
This plant language is one of the pillars of the environmental character of the cemetery. The enhancement and respect for the natural space are the guiding thread of the activity of the facility: initiatives such as the “Bosc de la Calma”, the Family Tree, the Earth Columbarium, the Garden, and the Reposo Fountain are clear examples of its environmental commitment, using more respectful ways of integrating this activity into the environment.
The circulation through these enclosures is based on a unidirectional road located on top of existing pathways. The different groups which hang from this main road are provided with autonomous entrances and exits. Not only does the one-way road give you the chance to have an overview of the landscape offering geographical knowledge of the space, but it also makes it impossible to get lost.
The old farmhouse is transformed to become the administrative center and comes to be the tours’ beginning and end. New buildings substitute the old ones forming two courtyards around the main volume. The whole cemetery is constructed with prefabricated concrete blocks combined with an artificial rock which creates a pattern and a dispersed appearance throughout time. Hence it relates to the rural constructions with the surroundings.