A high-quality public work
Mauro Crepaldi - Patrimonio Copparo Srl
Some of the most successful public works are to be found in small-town contexts, in projects carried through with meticulous care and attention to detail by provincial architects and local administrations.
One such case is the new Cemetery Complex built in Copparo, a town in the northern Italian province of Ferrara, by architect Mauro Crepaldi from Patrimonio Copparo, a limited liability company whose sole shareholder is the town council. The company is responsible for managing municipal assets, running local public services, and maintaining, designing and building public works. The design process began in 2010 when the provincial government approved the construction of a crematorium inside an area owned by the municipality of Copparo which was earmarked for an urban park extending from the edge of the old town centre as far as the cemetery.
Construction began in the autumn of 2013 and was completed in just over a year to a total cost of 1,900,000 euros, covered by a loan granted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to Patrimonio Copparo.
What is most striking about the project is its overall impact: the dialogue between past and present, as evidenced by the strict, clean lines of the new building that contrast with the more complex profile of the old cemetery; the spaciousness of the park that welcomes the deceased on their final journey amid the powerful and meditative presence of nature; and the elegant sobriety of the interiors.
Perhaps mindful of other poetic cemetery projects, most notably the Brion Tomb designed by Carlo Scarpa, Mauro Crepaldi made clear his “intention of building a pure, neutral volume that would not look like a church or other place of worship”.
The intelligent and harmonious project succeeded in integrating the complex crematorium into the cemetery, which in turn is connected to the urban fabric by means of a public park. It succeeded thanks to a radical choice of a compact, slender and slightly raised architectural volume that incorporates all the services, and a grassy dune connected to the park which serves to lighten up the building’s structure.
The building consists of three main elements: the grassy dune, supported by a reinforced concrete wall; a single-floor strip intended for service activities located behind the retaining wall in front of the cemetery; and a single-material box-like volume with a raised, almost suspended appearance that houses the furnaces, the offices, the Cremation Hall and the Farewell Hall.
Consisting of just three materials, concrete, glass and ceramic, this contemporary project stands in contrast to the traditional cemetery, creating a connection between the living and the dead, between the town and the graveyard. It is set in a peaceful park designed for use by the community and seen as a Northern European-style place for sitting and contemplating.
The 3.5 mm thick Mud series large-format porcelain tiles from Edilcuoghi were used to create a lightweight envelope with a sober, minimalist appearance. The large-format panels used on the façade create vertical bands of colour that dialogue with the large full-height glazing through which the Farewell Hall offers a glimpse of the sky.
The Cemetery Complex is reached via a characteristic tree-lined avenue extending from the parking lot, allowing mourners to slowly walk through the grounds and prepare to bid their loved-ones a final farewell. Inside the well-furnished, comfortable rooms, a sensation of peace and serenity reigns.
At the heart of the structure is an open green space, the Garden of Remembrance, where visitors can sit in thought and contemplation.
Edilcuoghi, Mud series
100x300 cm - spessore/thickness 3,5 mm
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,2%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA, UHA, ULA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 135 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant