Rehabilitation of the Old Escala Cemetery
REHABILITATION OF THE OLD ESCALA CEMETERY
c. del Gregal nº3, l’Escala
October 2016 – April 2017
October 2018 – December 2018
Escala Town Hall
Territoris XLM – Ar47 Estudi d’arquitectura
Patrimonio Inteligente S.L.
Project executed in collaboration with the urban planning office TerritorisXLM, authors of an extensive document that analyses the historical context and evolution of the cemetery and the Escala town.
The Old Cemetery, also known as the Marine Cemetery, is a closed rectangular enclave of small dimensions, frozen in time and of great singularity. It is a small-scale neoclassical ensemble, a clear example of simple, vernacular Mediterranean architecture of white walls faced with lime mortar and ceramic pavements.
The Old Cemetery was built for more than 100 years, occupying a site far from the town and overlooking the sea, where odours were ventilated by Northern winds. Construction stretches from 1835, when the first enclave is built, to 1932, when the entrance atrium is finalized. It is organized in three consecutive enclaves, searching for recollection and intimacy. One of its most interesting features is typological clarity. A niche of rigid geometry and controlled green landscaping is the functional unit that organizes the cemetery. It is minimal and rational, executed with vernacular construction techniques. The Old Cemetery is one of the clearest and best-conserved examples of the Neo Classical period of Catalonia.
We emphasize the coherence of the model preserving the typology of the double niche throughout the enclave. This facilitates a unified interpretation of the ensemble, of great beauty and simplicity. The unit is built by overlapping two or three tombs, crowned by a central tympanum and two smaller rounded elements attached to it that give continuity to the ensemble and articulate each formal unit with the following one.
Each constructive element and its pathologies is carefully studied. The intervention focuses on maintenance and reconsolidation of these elements, with few elements being restructured, rebuilt or reintegrated within the ensemble.
We have been fortunate to have been assisted throughout the entire building process by Gaietà Bigarós, town hall technical supervisor, and by Patrimonio Inteligente, with whom we have been able to recuperate the splendour of this architectural jewel through a discreet, simple intervention.