the new ‘funeral home in sant joan despi’ in the outskirts of barcelona by spanish studio batlle i roig arquitectes is strategically located between a decaying cemetery and the fontsanta park with gentle hills covered in lush greenery. the brief called for a new structure that would dignify the entrance to the cemetery and provide updated facilities for the preparation and mourning of the deceased, all the while unifying the surrounding sites on an urban scale with a structure that is beautiful and efficient. the exposed concrete construction carefully finds its partially-subterranean site to integrate park and tomb, standing as a simple yet powerful geometry that serves to capture the movement of light through space. two distinct zones are immediately understood upon entering the facility: an open public area used to hold proceedings and provide a peaceful space for contemplation, and a closed-off private section housing the technical and logistical services to the funeral home such as the preparation room or casket storage.

 

the entry facade is characterized by a low horizontal shell that frames an open space marked by a threshold of repetitive slender columns that help manifest the passage of time through the changing shadows on the natural stone floor. immediately inside, the visitor is brought to a quiet open-air courtyard in front of a stone wall, where the sky is framed within a protected space ideal for quiet reflection or mourning. these patios are located throughout the various structures that follow the axis established by the existing cemetery. the new structure on the north side of the site integrates the parking lot and cemetery while respecting the presence of the adjacent park without encroaching onto the reforested areas.

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
image © jordi surroca | all drawings courtesy of batlle i roig arquitectes

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
concrete structure punctuated with corten columns
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
entrance
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
internal courtyard
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
entrance facade
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
interior lobby
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
interior patios bring in natural light and provide space for contemplation
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
altar space
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
public area used for proceedings
image © jordi surroca

 

 

batlle i roig arquitectes: funeral home in sant joan despi
interior patio
image © jordi surroca

 

 

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

 

architects: enric batlle, joan roig i albert gil, architects
collaborators:    miriam aranda, matteo lencioni, architects
technical architect: diana calicó
agricultural engineer: dolors feu
structural engineering: static
installations: sj12 enginyers
design date: 2010
construction date: 2011
client: serveis funeraris l’hospitalet-baix llobregat, s.l.
contractor: vopi4
area: 700 m²
budget: 1.800.000 €

 

 

 

about the photographer: jordi surroca (barcelona, 1977)

 

after graduating from efpc (escola de fotografia de la universitat politècnica de catalunya) in 1999, jordi surroca starts his professional
carreer in vicenç san nicolas’s studio in barcelona, where he meets the world of digital photography at its beginnings. during this period,
he starts experimenting with architectural photography. in 2004, he takes an important step and creates aldigit , a company dedicated to
creative photographic retouching (mainly fashion and advertising), digital equipment rental and training courses for professional photographers.
in 2006, in order to grow and diversify projects, he teams up with giuseppe fazio and together they create la capsula. during these years,
jordi collaborates on a regular basis with architects and public administrations related to urbanism and architecture in catalonia. since 2008,
jordi dedicates himself exclusively to architectural photography. his extense experience as a retoucher reflects in the personal vision he transmits
through his work. his works have been published in prestigious national and international magazines such as metalocus, hoco, arquitectura viva,
mark magazine, exé, db deutsche bauzeitung o a&c korea, in monographic books such as battle i roig – veinte jardines 1981-2011 / monográficos del
paisaje (ed. paisajismo, 2011), in favour of public space (cccb / aktar, 2010), roldán + berengué 1999-2011 (tc cuadernos – serie dedalo, 2011)
and in exhibitions catalogs such as re-cycle. strategies for architecture, city, planet (national museum of xxi century arts – roma / maxxi books,
2012) or architecture catalane 2004-2009 (aktar, 2009).