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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Brion Cemetery

main tomb of Brion Cemetery
Main tomb of Brion Cemetery

The Brion-Vega Cemetery in San Vito d’Altivole is the epitome of Carlo Scarpa.  In fact, he spent nine years perfecting this project- a family cemetery, memorial, and landscape.  Usually, the cemetery is not open to visitors, but we had special access to all parts of the Brion-Vega Cemetery- due to our special relationship with the caretaker of the cemetery- who also happens to be the great nephew of the original couple that contracted this project.

Brion Cemetery surrounded by corn fields
Brion Cemetery surrounded by corn fields

Walking towards the cemetery, it becomes quite evident how subtle the project is against the landscape.  When we were there, the corn from the surrounding fields had already been cut, but usually the height of the corn and the height of the perimeter walls are equal- creating a very minimal visual presence upon approach.

window of the pavilion of meditation
Window of the pavilion of meditation
jumping over the metal division
Jumping over the metal division
Reflection of the sky in the water element
Reflection of the sky in the water element
Stepped surfaces and Jeffrey Blanchard
Stepped surfaces and Jeffrey Blanchard
Reflections
Reflections

Constantly, Scarpa uses his play on pulling and pushing planes.  He realizes them both on small and large scales.  In addition, the use of water amplifies his intentions by creating a double vision of his designs.  As usual, Scarpa places importance on the details of the design.  While San Vito d’Altivole is a sleepy little town, it is worth visiting to experience the embodiment of Scarpa’s work and design in the Brion-Vega cemetery.

Chris Ryan closing the gate to the Cemetery
Chris Ryan closing the gate to the Cemetery

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