Spår: Järva Cemetery Competition / Raphael França and Adrien Mondine

Raphael França and Adrien Mondine have submitted their competition entry for a multicultural cemetery in Järva, Stockholm, Sweden. The challenge and aim of the competition was to develop a place for remembrance and reflection for all on a site already embedded with societal values. The chosen site has an interesting past: an artificial hill was created as a result of the dumping of construction debris from neighboring housing projects in the 70s and 80s, it was then dominated by frisbee players as the one of the most frequented sites in Sweden.

The aim for Raphael França and Adrien Mondine was to develop a multicultural cemetery that did not just distinguish itself through the presence of distinct faiths in a single burial ground, but allowed for the adaptive use by mourners and visitors that allowed the natural reserve to grow organically and evolve in accordance with the users of the site.

Addition and subtraction is the process that gives the cemetery its multicultural and mutiuse potential. Spår, Swedish for imprints, is designed to enable the progressive growth of the site through the addition of vegetation and establishment of cleared spaces that allow paths and plots for traditional burials to develop.

The burial sites are created by the topography and vegetation present on the site. The site is interconnected with three orbital paths around the hill that meet existing paths on multiple levels around the hill. Anonymous spaces are created along the pathways that can alternate between silent reflection, mourning or the scattering of ashes – allowing the cemetery to belong to both the living and the deceased.

Ponds are provided for a balance of the marshes in the lower parts of the reserve. Tumili are arranged as archipelagos in the forest, inspired by the historical grävfalt of Gamla Uppsala and the Japanese kofun. Family vaults can be carved out of the north face of the hill to create a more private setting for remembrance. The nature of the site compliments the memorial value placed upon it by the living in remembrance of the deceased and can be adapted to reflect the appropriate vessel for the mourners.

The retention of the original nature of the site was equally as important to the architects. Spaces are laid out to allow frisbee players to still use the site. Several pavilions are laid out across the natural reserve to store digital libraries of the deceased, Viking heritage sites and community meetings rooms for a range of users from mourners to visitors.

The architects chose to fragment traditional notions of the separation of life and death by blending uses for mourning the deceased and engaging in daily routines. The concepts of a burial place for remembrance and the continuation of life on the same site bring the notion of a cemetery into the realm of use for the living.

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