Gate to the City of the Dead – the Funeral Home

  • location: Kraków, ul. Powstańców 48
  • website: http://www.cmentarzbatowicki.za.pl
  • outside sightseeing: yes
  • inside sightseeing: yes
  • outside photographing: yes
  • interior photographing: no
  • authors: Atelier Loegler
  • authors' website: http://www.loegler.com.pl
  • construction: 1998
  • authors of photos: (C) Atelier Loegler

The funeral home is a case of an abstract spatial form subjected to the symbolic of passing rituals – typical for the Christian religion and culture. Consequently, the architects emphasised three significant motifs: that of the way, the gate, and the light.

The building stands at the extension of the yard-way. A straightforward structure emerges from an elongated rectangle, curving into an arch. Made of reinforced concrete and glass, it symbolises a gate – the threshold between the land of the living, and the eternity. The blue colours of the elevation further enhance the unreal quality of the building. Deceptively simple formal solutions, upon consideration, reveal new, often contradictory, meanings. Glass façade divides the space, while revealing a sequence of interiors. And vice versa, the interior opens up towards the landscape. By means of unexpectedly placed glass surfaces, the light defines the space in a spectacular manner; it dematerialises structure, and suggests a succession of interpretations. The experience of passing from the light to darkness has not only an aesthetic dimension, but also a religious one. As the result, this is one of those rare contemporary religious buildings, which transports the person contemplating it: from the form to the meanings hidden therein. It releases transcendental experience.