MORTUARY IN THE FIELD OF CARTAGENA.
‘LA PALMA’ INDUSTRIAL PARK. CARTAGENA
A Mortuary in five lessons, with Ed Ruscha
The commission of the Mortuary project starts with the location and management of a
plot to raise the building. The property, an insurances company of local and regional
scope, wanted to strengthen its customer base with this kind of facility in the area in
which it concentrates his operations: the North of Cartagena, between the towns of ‘La
Palma’ and ‘Pozo Estrecho’, in the surroundings of the Field of Cartagena and the ‘Mar
That was how everything started and how I learned the first lesson of work: nobody
wants a mortuary in their neighbourhood.
After many attempts to purchase available plots at different locations, in a drift that
progressively and inexorably leads us away from the nearest and accessible places, we
just finished in the industrial park.
There, we selected an interesting plot: well proportioned and oriented, and strategically
located, open to the general parking area and green zone of the industrial park, in which
we could hardly distinguish small artificial stone benches and some scattered
cypresses, that no one had noticed, but they add land value to us.
The second lesson was to identify and interpret the location codes, an industrial site
made of constructions, that despite their different condition and activity scale –
production, exhibition, storage, commercial, etc.-, had some common patterns that
gave the whole a strange and complex discrete continuity.
We had the third lesson learned in advance, fit the budget to the limit of viability. With
this objective, we adjusted the building functional scheme to minimize it, with the
consequent surfaces reduction and the achievement of an accurate and abstract
Inside the building, the continuity provided by the white colour and natural light in its
different orientations is qualified by the different size and proportion of successive
spaces and textures of the materials that define them.
Designing and constructing all the furniture in the chapel, was more than a lesson a
double challenge: to design, in addition to a bench, the set of pieces that form the
symbolic and functional，elements of the liturgy (the cross, the communion table, the
lectern, etc.), and do it with a single system and material: pine wood plank, that in
different combinations, allows us to solve an connect all parts of the room.
How to recognize the building in the distance against a backdrop of exotic signs was
the last lesson: we support the sign on the top of the facade and cut it out against the
sky, no doubt this was the best way to distinguish it from a distant point.
I bet Ed Ruscha himself would have liked it…
Situation ‘La Palma’ Industrial Park. 30593 Cartagena
Client Servicios Funerarios del Campo de Cartagena, S.L. Project 2007 – 2012
Builder Sanimar S.L. Architect Martín Lejarraga Technical Architect Manuel Moreno
Structure Idee. Eduardo Díez Consultant José Aº Martínez Const. Manager Marco
Carselle Photographer David Frutos
Plot Area 1.844,00 m2
Built Area 1.047,40 m2
Budget 550.000 € (VAT excluded)
Structure Foundation: isolated slabs
Reinforced Concrete pillars 25 x 25 cm
Waffle slab 30 + 5 cm, recoverable coffers 80 x 80 cm
Cantilever, concrete slab 16-20 cm Walls Ceramic brick. Thickness 1 foot Façade
Mixed mortar, scraped finished
Interior Painted plasterboard, ceramic tiles 15 x 15 cm, lacquered wood, tinted wood
Floor Terrazzo micro grain 40 x 40 cm
Suspended Ceiling Plasterboard, thickness 13 mm
Ext. Framework Thermo-lacquered aluminium 20 microns
Glazing Double glazing 3+3/cavity 12/3+3 mm
Inner Woodwork Medium Density board. Stainless steel ironwork Curtains Textile:
cotton; metallic: aluminium links Furniture Pine wood plank 40 mm, tinted
Trees Grevillea robusta
MORE: Martín Lejarraga