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La Alberca, 2002



XII Premios de Arquitectura de la Región de Murcia 2003


A grave is the threshold between two worlds, where a deep hole is excavated in the earth and the deceased is laid to rest.  At the same time, an external structure is built above the grave to mark the place, as if it were a way to compensate the oblivion in which the deceased finally falls.

The materials employed were not used in the conventional way; we played with their dimensions and their position. They were used in a progression of layers, depending on the necessity for transparency or opacity, for a rough or a smooth surface.


The project was not for a building, nor a small structure, nor even a monument. The idea was to define a stage setting for a burial, taking into account the spatial and temporal situation.


The exterior of the construction works as the stage setting for the burial, recovering the rite of lowering the coffin into the grave and its corresponding niche, but the scene is hidden from the bereaved.  As a background to the scene we have a cross of distressed steel positioned in front of the light shaft at the entrance. The floor to this setting is made of off-white roman travertine marble, cut in layers, along which water flows to a small pool. Light enters the structure through the pool and is distorted by the movement of the water and the wind on the surface.


Water, understood as a symbol of life, is located outside the structure, whilst inside we are left with its reflection in motion, as if in death we are left with a reflection of what was our life.


The pantheon is a small elevated structure, like an altar where the burial takes place. In a sense, graves form part of the bowels of the Earth, and in this case the tombs are a part of this enclosed world which has no visible entrance.


The lower entrance - narrow and vertical- is 4.5 metres high and 0.8 m wide. On looking up we can see the cross. The opacity of the material contrasts with the light that filters in from above between the solid openings and in the ceiling there are two further light points.


Design Credits:

Architecture and interior design by CLAVEL ARQUITECTOS

Partners in Charge: Manuel Clavel Rojo / Luis Clavel Sainz

Photography: David Frutos (BISimages)


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