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Venice 2014

Acrosolium

Brion Tomb Complex, Acrosolium

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Rising above the perimeter wall in the distance of the island/meditation pavilion is the tomb of the couple. The Centerpiece of the site and program is an elevated prato or lawn surrounded by the continuous concrete wall. At the center of the lawn is an architectural arch, which Scarpa referred to as arcosolium.  Although the tombs appear to be sunken into the ground, the concrete floor that they stand on is at the same level as the surrounding landscape. The valley-like depression’s southwest side has a set of concrete steps that lead down to the tombs, echoing a variation of a small amphitheater.

 
Brion Tomb Complex, Acrosolium

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Rising above the perimeter wall in the distance of the island/meditation pavilion is the tomb of the couple. The Centerpiece of the site and program is an elevated prato or lawn surrounded by the continuous concrete wall. At the center of the lawn is an architectural arch, which Scarpa referred to as arcosolium.  Although the tombs appear to be sunken into the ground, the concrete floor that they stand on is at the same level as the surrounding landscape. The valley-like depression’s southwest side has a set of concrete steps that lead down to the tombs, echoing a variation of a small amphitheater.

 
Carlo Scarpa Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium Detail

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

The arch is a section of a circle cut into parallel strips suggesting volumetric complexity, and underneath it are the sarcophagi of the Brion couple. In fact the low vault that covers the couple’s tombs is closer relation in form to a bridge than an arch. This is the focal point of the composition, and the sunniest part of the site. The arches above where the couple repose are concrete, marble, and ebony beneath a marble decorated vault that acts as the bridge that conceals the dead and gives privacy to their continuing dialogue. The four-central rib-like beams span from one ziggurat-carved buttress to another that have a visor-like cantilever. The visibility of the cantilever was less obscure when the cemetery was not as overgrown with beautiful foliage, as were the brass pivot-hinges and pin-bearing posts that support that vast concrete vault.

The ziggurat style ties the each of the structures together through its repetition in the marble bases that the tombs rest on. The entirety of the vault sits in a circular space that is recessed into the earth surrounded by a low concrete wall and its floor, pebble laid with strips of marble inlaid to give another depth of design. 

Carlo Scarpa Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium Detail

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Acrosolium, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

The arch is a section of a circle cut into parallel strips suggesting volumetric complexity, and underneath it are the sarcophagi of the Brion couple. In fact the low vault that covers the couple’s tombs is closer relation in form to a bridge than an arch. This is the focal point of the composition, and the sunniest part of the site. The arches above where the couple repose are concrete, marble, and ebony beneath a marble decorated vault that acts as the bridge that conceals the dead and gives privacy to their continuing dialogue. The four-central rib-like beams span from one ziggurat-carved buttress to another that have a visor-like cantilever. The visibility of the cantilever was less obscure when the cemetery was not as overgrown with beautiful foliage, as were the brass pivot-hinges and pin-bearing posts that support that vast concrete vault.

The ziggurat style ties the each of the structures together through its repetition in the marble bases that the tombs rest on. The entirety of the vault sits in a circular space that is recessed into the earth surrounded by a low concrete wall and its floor, pebble laid with strips of marble inlaid to give another depth of design. 

Relation Shrine, Brion Sanctuary

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Relantion Shrine, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Returning to a path provided, the walkway turns, widening and inclining against the tall outer wall that will lead to the temple, but first through the relations shrine, that is bound right and left with ziggurat stepped walls. Again, another way Scarpa aims to create a harmonious architectural program. To enter the shrine the visitor must bend down and enter into the shallow space that is below a large concrete enclosure. It is lifted off the ground only slightly with a roof that is tilted at an angle in order to align with the inclining outer wall. Because of the tilted roof, a line of light is able to pour into the dark cave like space. 

Relation Shrine, Brion Sanctuary

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Relantion Shrine, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Returning to a path provided, the walkway turns, widening and inclining against the tall outer wall that will lead to the temple, but first through the relations shrine, that is bound right and left with ziggurat stepped walls. Again, another way Scarpa aims to create a harmonious architectural program. To enter the shrine the visitor must bend down and enter into the shallow space that is below a large concrete enclosure. It is lifted off the ground only slightly with a roof that is tilted at an angle in order to align with the inclining outer wall. Because of the tilted roof, a line of light is able to pour into the dark cave like space.