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Contest of ideas - National funeral home and funeral hall

Holder; Government of Andorra
Year; 2017




Project carried out with

Jacint Gil Rodríguez (GIL architecture)


As natural as life is death.

In this world, the relentless passage of time reminds us every day of the inevitable cycle of life and makes us assume our destiny naturally.

The levity of the human being is present in the conception of the project of a national mortuary and a communal vigil. The whole path in a person's life when reaching this point ends and he must be given a dignified farewell; of memory, of recognition and natural, very natural.

With the desire to have a place or building at the height of the moment of farewell and to be something natural, the design of the building is considered.




As a national mortuary and communal vigil rooms, the building seeks to give a modern architectural image, unitary and at the level of a space of reunion and farewell.

The implementation and operation create private working areas and hidden vigilance places, but at the same time a square or space open to the outside for rest and calm.


More public – intimate spaces. Degrees of intimacy.

In the operation of a mortuary and funeral parlors, the routes are a very important part, making up circulations and spaces for the public (mortuary halls) and private areas (mortuary). This separation has been respected in the building so that the users are in the privacy that the moment requires, while the professionals and workers of the equipment carry out their work independently.


The project frames 2 parts with independent and separate operation.

  • A part of the national mortuary in the basement, with the spaces for the own activities of deposit, thanatopraxy, autopsy, access to hygienic services, warehouses, connections and reception with office.

  • Another part with the 4 vigil rooms is available on different floors. On the ground floor with the access, reception, sanitary facilities and stairs and on the first and second floors with the waiting rooms, sanitary facilities and stairs.




At the ground floor level of the building, the main controlled access to the building occurs through a public square and connected to Calle dels Escalls. The square is covered for bad weather days, with a more open area and another more private, seeking privacy and rest for visitors at the back of the building.

On the basement floor there is also access for service and workers and on the first floor on Calle del Falgueró there could be access or evacuation if necessary on level footing through the service area.

Access by vehicle is from Calle dels Escalls and will be restricted to the internal functions of the service. The areas in the basement and the routes are rearranged to be able to reach the access to the national mortuary area properly and to maintain the passage and operation of the current logistics of the hospital.


Vertical communications between all floors will be dual and separate. A staircase will serve the internal functions of the center's workers, separated from a second public access communication to the vigil rooms.

The circulation of people is also segregated from that of the deceased and materials, making the operating circuits completely separate and connected to their own staircase and elevator, the large one serving the mortuary.



Maintenance is an aspect worked on in the project from the conception of the idea to throughout the life of the building and in the "Facility Management" process.

The exterior materials have been selected from the architectural idea, without forgetting their ecological and maintenance-free footprint. Basalt, corten, glass and treated synthetic wood

Window cleaning is always done from the inside, so there is no need for cranes to clean a singular building but of a scale and rational use.



The proposed geographical location is that of the project which delimits some macro climatic conditions of the project. On the other hand, the micro-climate conditions tell us in terms of energy and the environment in the building of the particular situation, of other buildings, of the vegetation in the area...

Orientation is very important in solar and wind capture. In this project, the best possible orientations have been sought, taking into account the nearby environment and the hospital, which are towards the South-West, but with its intimate nature and the vigilance of loved ones, it wants to be private and with a lot of control of openings to the outside. Air permeability has maximum requirements, since the weakest elements such as the openings are controlled. At the same time, the cross ventilation and the practicability for maintenance and cleaning make the designed windows a good element of control, efficiency and sustainability.

Access control and automatic double door placement with an entrance SAS minimizes the entry of unconditioned air from outside, cold in winter and hot in summer.

The air conditioning, on the other hand, will be with a high-efficiency VRV heat pump and a 4-way system with heat recovery.

The ventilated facade in facades and roof makes the building more efficient by creating an air chamber between the outer skin and the inner insulation. This fact means that in the summer the heat produced by the sun does not reach the spaces inside and as a result the expenditure and energy consumption decreases. It also creates a unitary, modern and solid image of the building.

The perimeter insulation of the entire building means that there are no thermal bridges, which eliminates possible malfunctions and internal condensation. The internal-external energy exchange, both in the thermal and acoustic fields, is reduced to the maximum.

The installation of a heat recuperator and the reuse of the hospital's heat sources that are now surplus and expelled outside, will be channeled towards the new mortuary and vigil rooms. Specifically, the recovered surplus energy will be brought to the technical area of the Nostra Senyora de Meritxell clinic and to the northern part of the ground floor and basement of the new mortuary and vigil rooms.

The internal reuse of the heat produced by the refrigerators and freezers of the mortuary in the building to be built will be done through the heat recovery unit and towards the rest of the building.

The surplus heat from cold production will also be used to heat hot water in the summer.

It is a key aspect in energy efficiency and sustainability not to waste interconnection with the existing clinic and hospital which are currently large energy consumers and generators of surplus heat. The idea of the administration is also known to pass for future efficiency and sustainability in energy aspects.

Natural lighting in vigil rooms has also been sought for immediate comfort, changing lights and shadows and lower lighting needs during the day. Reuniting with natural light is always efficient and sustainable.

On the second floor, the space of the deceased is illuminated with a light well from the roof to give it natural and unique lighting.

On the other hand, at the entrance to the vigil rooms there is another well that allows natural lighting of the mortuary entrance.

The interior and artificial lighting will be of low energy consumption led type and with motion sensors in the passage and sanitary spaces for energy control.

The roof collects rainwater at one point that can be used for irrigation and for the water from the sanitary tanks.

The excess of sunlight at certain times of the year on the South and West facades when leaving the volume of the hospital is controlled with corten steel slats that also give privacy to the vigil spaces and give an overall image to the project .

The small surface area of the building and its position partly in the shadow of the hospital make us rule out solar energy in this location.

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