Funeral Home in Sant Joan Despí
Batlle i Roig Arquitectes
By Pol Martin
Spanish architects Batlle i Roig have always been internationally recognized for their fantastic work in landscape architecture. Their buildings are no less interesting as this new funeral home located in Sant Joan Despí competently illustrates. The building features the kind of class and simplicity in architecture that you might appreciate in many modern classic buildings, yet combined with great contemporary landscape design.
The specific location of the new funeral home, at the end of the existing cemetery of Sant Joan Despí and right beside the entrance to the public park of "La Fontsanta" gave the architects a choice between several strategies.
Foremost the building would act to solve the primary functional
program requested of the new facility; to improve the services of
the existing cemetery. It would be entirely built with the use of
sustainable construction technologies and natural materials. It
would not be just a building but a new entrance area to the whole
funereal complex, organizing the exterior pedestrian connections
and parking areas. Most importantly, the building would be
integrated as part of the landscape so that the park atmosphere
would be preserved. Part of the new volume would be embedded in the
Both the new entrance area and the building are organized around the existing street access to the old cemetery. From this point the funeral home building becomes the final construction within the cemetery sequence. The new parking and the exterior spaces provide some sort of welcoming plaza that solves the previous lack of a proper entrance and unifies the new facilities with the old graves.
The site is based within a small valley. The streets surrounding the park and the cemetery are on a higher level. By embedding part of the funeral home in the topography, the architects Batlle i Roig have certainly reduced the visual impact of their new building. Following their intentions, it partially disappears and melts within the park grounds. The roof vegetation merges effectively with the surrounding green slopes, creating a seamless transition between the valley and building.
From the outside it may only appear to be a long and narrow
pavilion, but the total surface area of the building is around 700
square meters. Two very different function areas are considered yet
separated. One acts to assist the public through the various halls
and rooms needed for the ceremonies. The other is the closed areas
reserved for the internal practicalities that are associated with a
funeral home; frequented by the workers and the movement of
coffins. Some voids on the artificial topography provide light to
the interior. These courts also establish a visual filter between
the different main public spaces.
Choice of Materials
Batlle i Roig have used a basic structural system composed of
walls and reinforced concrete slabs casted with pinewood boards.
Corten steel pillars comprising of flat bars are also in use. The
simplicity in the choice of the construction materials define the
building image and its honest character. They provide a brave
purity and a sense of class and quality, conferred by the exposed
materials. A natural stone is used for the pavement with soft
wooden materials strategically placed to provide interior
The rusted steel pillars of the facade act like a light
gradient, visually filtering the exterior whilst protecting the
interior from direct sunlight. In combination with the incoming
natural light, the exposed structural element textures help create
a variation of interior atmospheres: each space is illuminated by a
specific and unique light. Like in any spiritual building, the
light is used to create part of the building's imagery.
Facts about Funeral Home in Sant Joan Despí
Batlle i Roig
Enric Batlle i Durany
Joan Roig Duran
Albert Gil Margaleff
SJ12 Albert Colomer
Static, Gerardo Rodríguez
Location: Sant Joan Despí, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Miriam Aranda (architect)
Dolors Feu (agricultural engineer and landscape designer)
Diana Calicó and Elisabeth Torregrosa (technical architects)
Project Area: 700 m2
Last updated: December 20, 2013
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