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Around the Globe in High-Design Architecture of Death

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Though perhaps not the first place most architecture nerds would venture to in hopes of tracking down engaging, modern structures, it turns out that cemeteries are, in fact, a pretty great place to find architects' very best, high-design projects. Generally quite minimalist (no weeping angels here) and almost always described as "poetic" by the archibabble, the eternal resting places below include a complex with a peaceful, secret courtyard, an ultra-stark addition to a mediaeval graveyard, and even one angular mausoleum that an engineer designed for himself. Take a look:

(↑ and ↓) A dutifully prepared and slightly morbid engineer in Murcia, Spain, commissioned this angular mausoleum for himself in an effort ensure that when the time came, his eternal resting place would be the finest in all the cemetery. Designed by Spanish architects Amparo and Andres Martinez Vidal, the tomb is made from three stacked concrete boxes, with an origami-shaped steel and glass entranceway. As so clearly intended, the structure more than stands out against its traditional neighbors.

(↑) Another shot of the Mucia, Spain, tomb.

(↑ and ↓) The "strangely poetic" SA Family Graveyard in Noakhali, Bangladesh, offers a boxy canopy, a single bench—a breezy "place of contemplation" in the words of Bangladeshi firm SHATOTTO Architects—and marble tiled flooring, all surrounded by scene-setting paddy fields and palm trees that stand in stark contrast with the imposing architecture. "The graveyard is a metaphor that contains death and appreciates the earthly life," says the lead architect. "This triggered the design to create a transcending space connecting the temporal to the celestial being through a frame made of concrete."

(↑ and ↓) This Islamic cemetery in the Alpine countryside of Vorarlberg, Austria, was designed by local firm Bernardo Bader Architects to serve the area's Muslim population. Built from red-tinted concrete and enclosed by latticed oak frame of traditional Islamic Mashrabiya screens, the structure houses five burial enclosures, along with prayer rooms and assembly halls. There's also an elaborate courtyard hidden away at the core of the complex, which offers lovely dappled sunlight through its perforated walls.

(↑) Another shot of the Vorarlberg, Austria, complex.

(↑ and ↓) Italian architect Andrea Dragoni built this rather abstract, modern addition onto an ancient cemetery in the medieval town of Gubbio, Italy, with the hope of creating "architecture with a strong poetic and spiritual reaction." Four courtyards are positioned throughout, with large site-specific art by Italian artists Sauro Cardinali and Nicola Renzi. There's also a series of skylights that, in the words of the architect, "opens the mind to the reign of the invisible, allowing sight and thought to abandon Mother Earth's gravity and acquire a more aerial and spiritual dimension."

(↑ and ↓) Design firms HGA architects and Halvorson Design Partnership collaborated on this striking new mausoleum for the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minn. Their goal was to create a "poetic contemporary addition" to the 143-year-old historic property, with an open gathering area and a reflecting pool.

· All Cemetery Wire posts [Curbed National]