Space for the Afterlife

architectural office HPNJ+
project New Zadar Cemetery, Zadar, Croatia

The new city cemetery of Zadar is located in the village of Crno, on the final folds of the Ravni Kotari plain near Zadar. Planned for a hundred-year period, the cemetery extends on 33 hectares. It will contain 35 000 grave sites, and will be executed in seven stages. The territory of the cemetery is organized orthogonally, based on the Roman ager model. The spatial and temporal grave sections are enclosed in walls and placed in a natural landscape, taking into account the existing topography. They represent small cemeteries, modelled after the island cemeteries of the Zadar archipelago. The identity of a particular section is determined by its perimeter walls.
Grave fields with different types of tombs stretch along the orthogonally laid main paths (the cardo and the decumanus). Squares are formed at the intersections of the main paths. They contain structures such as the central chapel, the ossuary, and the buildings to accommodate urn compartments or niches for caskets. The small arcades are situated along the perimeter walls. Located at the intersections of the main paths and the perimeter walls are the portals to the grave sections, emphasized by towers. Places for a short pause, rest, or prayer are located along the perimeter walls, that is, they are openings – windows with a view of the natural landscape.