Project:  Giovanni Vaccarini

Chronology project: 2005; realisation: 2005-2006

Grantee and performer:  Consorzio PROGETTI & FINANZA 

Staff:  Cosimino Casterini

Client:  Amministrazione Comunale Ortona 

Location:  Ortona (Ch)


A cemetery is a place of collective memory. Walking in these places re-dimensions the scope of our efforts in relation to the passing of time.
From this point of view, the cemetery of Ortona is further charged with evocative power, reminding the world of the thousands of lives claimed by the last World War. The city of Abruzzo was in fact one of the last defensive bulwarks established by the German Army as it retreated north under the pressure of the advancing Allied Forces. The city paid a high price in human lives and was almost completely destroyed.
The project is not far from the Canadian Cemetery, whose evocative simplicity affects even the most distracted visitor.
As in the city of the living, the successive expansions of the cemetery mirror the vicissitudes of previous ages.
It is difficult to find a "pattern" in the expansions of the last decades. This probably reflects the uncertainty and cultural disconnection experienced during the era of mass industrialization.

The project area involves the last portion of land available for the expansion of the cemetery. It is located on the crest of a hill overlooking the sea and with a view of extraordinary beauty. The project structures a system based on two conditions:_the terminus of the cemetery (a kind of corner stone opposite the main entrance);_an element of/on the landscape that dialogues with this very strong environmental presence.

The project attempts to respond to two main statements:

_geometry: the parti reflects the geometries of the historic cemetery.

The result is a plan that resembles the teeth of a comb, in which the "fingers" employ a grid of alignments (a bar code) that communicates with the plan of the cemetery.

_landscape: the filiform buildings open up toward the landscape unhinging one of the canonical components of the cemetery system: the fence.

The sea itself becomes one of the elements of the project: the cuts in the walls offer various views outward.

_the slope: the buildings are used to connect different levels across the site.

_materials: the project uses essentially two materials: stone cladding and plaster. The buildings are designed as monolithic volumes clad in stone; the sections are in white plaster.

The coating is made of rough stone with strong chromatic variations.