Architect: Branko Rebek / Renovation: Rok Benda, Miha Skok
Construction completion: 1974
Project Year: 2004
Renovation completion: 2005
The architect chose the location, which stood at the very edge of town at the time of constructionin 1974. The farewell building is pulled back from the cemetery to be surrounded only by vegetation.
The light concrete structure of a shallow arch in Menges invokes the vault of heaven. A vault structure also covers the holiest part of the Kampor memorial complex on the island of Rab (E Ravnikar, 1953), where the space under the vault is closer, more intimate, with a stronger presence of the massive stonearch under the burden of memories.
The arch structure in Menges is anchored to theground in four places. It is transparent in a crosswise sense, so we can see the park through it.
Initially, the arch had sky lights covered by Plexiglass, intended for special light effects under the arch.
The square in front of the mortuaries in the eaststands next to the carpark, its view defined by the bell tower of St Michael’s Church. In the west, the pavement gradually rises in front of the building and goes under the vault. The architect planned three morgues, growing from the ground and not touching the vault at all. The strictly geometric and glazed structure of the morgues accentuates the lightness of the roof shell.
The thin concrete roof is a structural achievement. It was made in raw, watertight concrete like the mortuary buildings. The entire shuttering was planed, the concrete having the texture of wood. Soon after completion, it was necessary to repair it because of the thin concrete protective layer. The first renovation of the mortuary was carried out in 1991. At the same time, the raw concrete roof was covered with copper-tin. New lighting was installed, the raw concrete was painted, which compromised the pure and clear idea of the whole. The surrounding nature gradually became urbanized, so the facilities were surrounded by a suburb of family houses.
In 2004, architects Rok Benda and Miha Skok conceived the renovation project to resolve the recentfunctional problems, clear the building of all additional elements and restore the materials and raw concrete. By enlarging the square in front of the building and arranging access, they unified the space into a whole, carefully using lighting to accentuate the central element of the project: the slender arch structure. The entire lighting has been made indirect, with hidden lamps.
The environment was already intensively planted before their intervention. The guidelines for further renovation include the restoration of raw concrete with sanding and impregnation of all surfaces. It will bring the image of the entire complex closer to the architect’s original idea – a light concrete shell standing in greenery.
Location: Menges, SI