From reading and seeing images of the architecture, it feels like Scarpa has created a living, breathing, growing form; crafted by using a continuous architectural language. Sculpted from his knowledge and experience of Italian views on life and death, Christian faith and a respect for cultural traditions of the Orient. Combined, they have come together to create a poetic masterpiece. Using his understanding of nature, human senses and materials Scarpas tapestry woven from countless myths; like human memory, without beginning and without end (Saito, 1997, p. 16) is realised. WALL
The site has a 230cm wall built around the site, which slopes to a 60-degree angle, which the inner site has been raised by 70cm and covered with grass. This limits the view of the observer, taking them away from the mundane sights of the village, creating seclusion. Its an internal space that represents the joining of the living and the dead world. This theme runs through all of Scarpas architecture. Ennio asked Scarpa to make one area of the wall lower; this can be found on the left-hand side of the entrance wing, this was one of only two things that the Brion family asked to have changed about the design.
In an interview with Mr. Ennio Brion, the son of the Brions explains: We had chosen this site because my father wanted to be buried along with his fellow towns-people and having such a high wall between them would have created too strong a separation (Saito, 1997, p. 152). CIRCLES Circles are found all over Scarpas designs. The intersecting circle at the entrance wing is a thought provoking sign as you enter the space it acts as acts as an intermediate passage before entering the new dimension.
The symbolism of a circle is evocative to any culture; it brings interpretations of unity, infinity and continuity, all of which relate to the site and its purpose. The circlular form is also used as nodes at the ends of many of the axis. They work like a node found in biology when a new leaf grows from a stem creating a transitional point. Visually, Phillip Smith from (O2 Landscapes, 2013) suggests that they present a sense of renewed or redirected sense of vitality to the audience as the energy moves through the water system. VEGETATION
The vegetation has been meticulously thought out to be evocative, to flood the senses with sight and smells to trigger sensations. In contrast with the solidity of the architecture, the vegetation is there to compliment the passing of time (Lanscape Australia, 1991). He demonstrated this in minute detail through drawings, how the passing of time will change the face of the site (Saito, 1997) The project challenged him to consider the human soul, challenged him to consider how to cater for the dead and how he could keep the memories of the dead alive in their final resting place. (Saito, 1997).
What has emerged is architecture as almost a living, breathing, growing personification of a world that is there, but not at the same time. LIGHT The play of light and shadow is one way in which going there allows people to capture a new experience each time. The light is said to change every instant, and, is at times, shocking (Saito, 1997, p. 19) for visitors. The key feature to this is due to the orientation of the 60m2 chapel. Turned to a 45 degree angle on the east-west axis, the orientation takes the full advantage of light coming from all sides, at any point of the day or year.
Using apertures in the walls (Saito, 1997) to let the light in, Scarpa creates a world of ever-changing patterns and intensities of light within the chapel. All these qualities vary depending to season but are planned in detail. For example, the light from one of these apertures in different season causes the shadow to make one, long belt and whereas in the summer it casts a thin x-shape. What really creates the poetry however is how Scarpa take tools such as light, stone and water and through craft, brings its soul to the surface.
By thinly slicing onyx and allowing the light to shine through it the soft and delicate patters are amplified by illuminating the space. The double windows located at the back of the altar extend down to floor level allow tiny particles of light enhanced by the moisture from the pool below, to dance around the altar (Saito, 1997). The pavilion is there so the souls of the dead can use it as a canopy to meditate under. (Saito, 1997). An architect would usually cater only for the human experience, Scarpa has looked beyond this, catering for the concept of a cemetery.
The zigzag pattern is a dominating feature of the site, acting as a method to show the texture of the material whilst eliminating the cruder side of it, a sequence of refining. He turns it into a new material with new and different qualities. Scarpa paid particular attention into moulding the concrete into a texture resembling tree bark. The zigzags also allow light diffuse and create shadows. He uses these uneven zigzags under the pools of water. In some cases he uses hem to bring out the colours and create interplay of light and shadows and in other incidences, like by the pavilion, the zigzags create the impression that is floating on the water. (Saito, 1997) TOMBS The final resting place of the Brion family is the Tomb. The sepulchres contrast in colour creating a buoyancy effect between the black and white materials. The bases are made from Carrera marble, whereas the upper part is sculpted from slabs of dark brown granite. This effect gives a floating impression, where tilt into another at a 22. -degree angle, symbolising inclusion and unity. The Floating effect was to be further implied by using water, akin to Scarpas earlier works. However, the Brion family felt it too pretentious in context. They meant for the chapel for the entire village, though in reality the dominance of Scarpas architectural vision has changed this. Scarpa died just after the sites completion in 1978 and in accordance to his wishes he was buried here. He is buried in a standing up position (Mimoa, 2009). Before his death he was quoted as saying, I would like to explain the Tomb Brion. I consider this work, if you permit me, to be rather good and which will get better over time. I have tried to put some poetic imagination into it, though not in order to create poetic architecture but to make a certain kind of architecture that could emanate a sense of formal poetry. The place for the dead is a garden. I wanted to show some ways in which you could approach death in a social and civic way; and further what meaning there was in death, in the ephemerality of life other than these shoe-boxes. (Mimoa, 2009)