Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

Karolina Pietruszka - "Expansion of the Municipal Cemetery in Sopot".

02 of February '20
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2018
Author: Karolina Pietruszka
Faculty of Architecture, Gdansk University of Technology
Dr. Agnieszka Gębczyńska-Janowicz

Today's necropolises often have the problem of intermingling their areas with urban development and lack of space for more burials. However, space for burials is essential. Cemeteries are important for cultural and religious reasons. Burial customs reflect social relations, value hierarchies and beliefs.

Analiza cmentarzy
w skali Trójmiasta

Analysis of cemeteries on a Tri-City scale

The Tri-City has been struggling with this issue for several years. Only two cemeteries - Łostowicki in Gdansk and Kosakowo in Gdynia - have secured space for new burials, and only Gdansk has a crematorium (due to occupancy operating continuously). Sopot additionally faces a number of other problems affecting the funeral theme - a significant portion of the population there are elderly, over sixty-five years of age, and the number of deaths is higher than the Pomeranian average. The project was located in Sopot, on Malczewskiego Street, adjacent to the existing necropolis.

The most common form of burial in Poland is the traditional earth grave, which takes up much more space than its alternatives, that is, columbaria, earth urn graves or memorial fields. Burying loved ones in urns still arouses extreme emotions, as do memorial fields, which are still illegal in Poland. Approaches to funerary habits and culture, however, are slowly changing. It is important that the design responds to the new needs.


Urban composition

The project area is separated from the current cemetery by a road. In order for it not to be a barrier, it is crucial to refer to the existing urban composition. The starting point is the reference to the Church of the Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and the square in front of it, being the center of the composition, which connects directly to the entrance to the area of the designed cemetery. The direction of the composition is determined by an axis leading through the center of the site, ending with a memorial field. The chapel is currently nearly a kilometer away from the edge of both the existing and new cemetery, hence the design of the new chapel and an additional pedestrian route, providing a link between the building and the old part of the necropolis.


The project area covers twelve hectares and requires zoning. For landscape and protective reasons, it is recommended that the existing stand of trees be cut down as little as possible. The establishment is intended to have a park-like character and present a new approach to the funerary theme. The zones were separated by path surface types and names referring to the plantings in each sector. Species symbolic of the theme and corresponding to the plant habitat were chosen, but in the form of garden varieties. The project also includes commercial buildings (selling candles, flowers), as well as public restrooms.



Overriding the concept is the focus on the users, and above all on their emotions. It is important to create a building that is simple and intuitive for visitors, improving communication in a difficult area. The space and compositional links are to form a coherent whole of the necropolis complex. It is also important to create places that meet the different needs of people: interaction and conversation or tranquility and contemplation.



The building's functional program includes a crematorium, two chapels, service and technical rooms and office space. It is important that it harmonizes with its surroundings. Accenting the concrete forms are corten landscaping elements, connecting the surroundings with the interior of the building. Speaking of finishes, it is important to mention the light affecting the perception of the place. It is meant to emphasize monumentality, sublimity and spirituality in the context of death.



Lighting, in addition to aesthetic and atmospheric considerations, is intended to add lightness to the building, without creating completely closed forms. Most important in the building is the large non-denominational chapel. Its central element is the catafalque, so in addition to daylight, artificial lighting was introduced directly above it. In addition, to give the interior a mystical character, the wall behind the lectern was illuminated with a narrow skylight filled with prisms of different angles. This creates colorful patterns, reminiscent of stained glass windows.


© Author

The vote has already been cast