Cemetery Maintenance Complex

Ekonomigård på nya Begravningsplatsen

Gävle, 1964

Koistinen & Nyberg

Working with landscape architect Per Friberg, Nyberg and Koistinen made the banal extraordinary. The program’s humble nature did not make for a driving factor in shaping the project other than providing the opportunity to create multiple buildings that frame a space far more hierarchal than the buildings themselves. Uncompromisingly horizontal, the façades stretch articulated by two strips of windows; one high and tall, one low and narrow breaking the building at belt line and roof. This sensitively admits diffused light from above while providing a long ribbon at seated level to survey the landscape. At the corners the ribbon windows wrap with a square bar of acrylic and the black wooden clad walls slope slightly outward adding to what are many strange details showing both a sophistication in dealing with material, but also a willingness to experiment. Currently the buildings rot, awaiting their sentence from the local authorities.

The program for the complex was a consolidation of various utilitarian spaces such as a garage, workshop, storage and rooms for the staff. These functions had to be subsumed into the sensitive environment of the cemetery, which demanded no other language than simplicity. Three parallel houses dressed in laminated wood strips combine to form a central courtyard. To peer through glass pasted on a surface marks another kind of simplification, emphasizing the relationship to the exterior.