16.11.2011

The ‘Oude Landen’ cemetery in Nuenen, The Netherlands

'Oude Landen' es un nuevo cementerio público situado en un paisaje agreste y boscosa al sur-este de Nuenen, Holanda. Las únicas estructuras físicas en los 20.000 m² del sitio son la puerta principal, la oficina del superintendente, el campanario y la capilla de descanso, diseñados por Van den Pauwert Architecten. Cuando hayan crecido, los árboles recién plantados darán al cementerio un maravilloso entorno arbolado. La forma rígida de las estructuras complementa la informalidad de las líneas curvas de los caminos. La grandeza abstracta de la capilla de descanso es un diseño que intencionalmente no refleja ninguna religión en particular. La escultura simple de acero corten y bronce ofrece un telón de fondo modesto para la despedida final. El acero proporciona refugio y enmarca el paisaje pastoral. En el fino límite entre el techo y la pared, la luz se refleja en un brillo dorado.

‘Oude Landen’ is a new public cemetery set in a rustic and wooded landscape to the south-east of Nuenen. The cemetery was developed by Grontmij. The only physical structures are the main gate, the superintendent’s office, the columbaria and the cemetery’s chapel of rest, which were designed by Van den Pauwert Architecten. The chapel of rest is the most prominent of the four stand-alone structures in the site, which covers an area of around 20,000m².

When they have grown, the newly planted trees will give the cemetery a wonderful wooded setting. Elegant winding paths cut through the rows of graves and urns. The individual rows of standing and lying headstones in the high grass create a beautiful overall effect. Amidst the graves, the columbaria are scattered like pillars throughout the cemetery. At the heart of the cemetery lies a geometric metal sculpture, marking the site of the final funeral ceremony. The highly formal shape of the structure complements the informality of the curved lines of the paths, offering a sheltered spot where the living and the dead literally part ways.

The abstract grandeur of the chapel of rest is a reference to this universal ceremony; a design that consciously does not reflect any particular religion. The simple sculpture of Corten steel and brass provides a modest backdrop for the final farewell. The steel provides shelter and frames the pastoral landscape of the lower lying stream. On the fine border between the ceiling and the wall the light reflects the room bathing in a golden glow.

A building on this spot cannot be other than ambiguous. Simultaneously inert and airy, sheltered and open, rough and smooth, patinas on the timeless brass and the steel, proud and melancholic. The chapel of rest mirrors the different emotions inevitably associated with this place.

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