Mirogoj Wall

author Marijan Hržić
project Columbarium Wall of the Mirogoj Cemetery Along the Remetska Road, Zagreb, Croatia
written by Žana Radetić

The Wall really is a wall—a new big wall at the Mirogoj Cemetery. The one by the Crematorium, from almost forty years ago, while often referred to as such, long ago departed from the original meaning of the word and the expected form of one wall, and moved to meanings, poetry, and roundness. The one by the Arcades, from about a hundred years ago, actually never really wanted to be a wall in the first place, as if it wanted to show what the wall was from the other side of reality. But this recent one, this really is the wall, earthly, earthen, from its very beginning, idea and intent. Created as a wall, it is the only one that is actually called that. A preliminary concept for the Columbarium Wall was created in 2016. In fact, it has been apparent for quite some time that the contact of the cemetery with the perimeter of Remetska Road has been inadequate. Grave sites were located right next to a busy road, within the range of noise, headlights, and all the other resulting distractions. Today’s Remetska Road is the consequence of moving the former route to the west, while the old, parallel road became what we now know as the main pedestrian axis connecting the old part of Mirogoj—the space in front of the main entrance and along the Arcades—to the newer part in the north. Zagreb’s cemetery has always been carefully planned, equally thought through and expanded. Its settings are already famous for their picturesque views, but the edges in both the immediate vicinity and the wider radius around the paradigmatic arcades remained undefined. The new wall has thus had several basic functional premises from the beginning: the separation of the cemetery plot from the road, the synthesis of existing significant architectural units in the wider Mirogoj area, and the very function of the columbarium. This architectural input obviously comes from primordial givens, but in the meantime, after its completion, it has become a Wall with a capital W. It fits neatly into the misty Mirogoj glades: with its length being nearly 800 meters and its solid ridge prancing northwards, it is a powerful spatial artefact. It connected the Arcades and the Crematorium, two major Mirogoj points that really needed to be connected. Perhaps primarily because of that, but certainly because it turned out so well in terms of concept and execution, it is adorned with an aura of necessity.