An 8,400 square meter cemetery for Islamic burials in Austria reinforces humanity’s connection to nature until the end. A tranquil design flawlessly executed by Bernardo Bader with an applaudable combination of simplicity and reverence, the cemetery built in Vorarlberg features a series of variously-sized walls that not only separate the cemetery from the surrounding landscape, but also gently cordon off grave burials.
In its purest form, Islam (like most religious and spiritual ideological systems), calls for humanity to retain their connection to the earth. That we are custodians of the planet is an idea that is expressed in numerous Quranic tenets.
Bearing this in mind, Bader aimed to design a cemetery for Muslim residents living in Altach, Austria that would be a gentle reflection of this powerful and largely overlooked sense of responsibility.
Unlike some embarrassingly overdone monuments to the dead, a series of elegant walls depicting intricate designs very similar to the Mashrabiya screens that help to facilitate natural light and ventilation in mosques and homes in the Arab world.
It is at once a tasteful intervention that minimizes site impact while also creating intimate spaces that allow families to mourn their loss in a magical alpine environment.
See how this cemetery compares with Zoroastrian burials in Iran.
Images via Adolf Bereuter, Nikolaus Walter, Peter Allgäuer, Bernardo Bader