Architect, Architecture
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Brion Cemetery Meditation Pavilion – Carlo Scarpa

Brion Cemetery Meditation Pavilion – Carlo Scarpa
Carlo Scarpa was one of the second generation of Modern architects – however, as a son of Venice, he was sensitive to that city’s old-fashioned culture (unlike most modernists), and made his reputation through a number of commissions and renovations in which he used Modern methods and spatial concepts to transform Venice, rather than crudely eliminate its ancient identity. He understood that the past is not dead and that we in the present must engage and intertwine with it.

Brion Cemetery Water Pavilion – Carlo Scarpa
Scarpa did not restrict himself to Venice, however. Indeed, perhaps his most visited and well-known work was the last he completed in his lifetime – the Brion Cemetery at San Vito D’Altivole, a small village not far from the Dolomite Mountains. This was the country of Giuseppe Brion, founder of the prestigious Brionvega electronics company, who Scarpa admired as a man of the people, who had “started from the bottom”, as well as for the design quality of his products, many of which are museum pieces today.

Brion Cemetery Propylaeum Corridor – Carlo Scarpa

When Brion died in 1968, his family bought a large, L-shaped portion of land around the actual village cemetery in which to house his tomb. It was Scarpa’s responsibility to devise an inspiring memorial, with multiple traits  in the Modern style that were nevertheless respectful rather than dictatorial. Between 1969 and 1977, he created a setting that was not only a fitting memorial but in its deployment of light, form and space, also a place for the living to engage in contemplation. This is particularly evident in the magnificent meditation pavilion, set in a large square pool surrounded by a concrete wall and a band of coloured tiles. It is meticulously conceived to direct our eye around its perfectly juxtaposed features – the ideal salute from one ingenious craftsman to another.

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