by Vanna Villa

The extension of the Gubbio cemetery is the result of studies of a new model of public building. On the one hand, the last phase of growth of the monumental cemetery of Gubbio, one of the most important medieval cities in Italy, has been developed. On the other hand, we wanted to redefine its meaning and centrality within the structure of the city.


The plan consists of an urban structure made up of linear stereometric blocks, arranged to reflect the rural designs that characterise the surrounding landscape and the historic city.


This concept of urban settlement is emphasized by the inclusion of large square enclosures, designed to function as open spaces that give a particular spatial rhythm to the project as a whole.


These spaces were inspired by James Turrell’s Skyspaces and are designed to function as common areas, independent of the cemetery, offering an opportunity for pause and reflection. These “squares of silence” have open ceilings that evoke open windows to the sky.

The framed sky opens the mind to the realm of the invisible, allowing the visitor to abandon the gravity of Mother Earth and acquire a more spiritual dimension.


At the same time, the opening towards the sky reinterprets Leon Battista Alberti’s window, a window that is like a threshold, imagined by the great Renaissance architect as the only architectural artifice capable of “instilling peace”. This element, evoked by the celestial void that descends from above, would take us back to the imperturbable state of the soul, without which overcoming life’s adversities is impossible.


In this sense, the building can be seen as a model of the world, representing an order that we cannot directly experience in the world, but that becomes perceptible within the limits of the building.


Text provided by the architect

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