Mortuary chapel designed with modern 3D programmes and historical vault technique

A lightweight mortuary chapel, designed by architects Fernando Vegas and Camilla Mileto, was created as a tribute to the rich ceramic-making tradition of the Valencia region, as well as the characteristic tile vault technique, historically widespread throughout Eastern Spain.

The vault technique was disseminated by Valencian architect Rafael Guestavino among modernist architects, most notably Gaudí.

To design the construction, special 3D programmes were needed, as the pantheon contains mathematically and graphically difficult curves to optimise the construction’s overall structural operation.

All tiles in the chapel are handmade, and their size, thickness, and necessary weight were all calculated beforehand in order to make the construction work. The structure consists of 3 ceramic layers to compensate for the effect of wind suction.

The vault is comprised of 4 interlinked hyperbolic paraboloids. Thanks to its curves, the construction is very light, yet incredibly resistant, consisting only of ceramic tiles, plaster and white cement. Fibreglass rods were added to absorb force in case of earthquakes.

The total weight of the construction is approximately 12.5 tonnes, which is considerably less than a traditional pantheon with brick walls and concrete floors and ceilings, which would weigh between 190 and 250 tonnes.

The design for the vault was executed by Salvador Gomis under the supervision of Salvador Tomás for the Soriano Manzanet family. The construction is located in Villareal, in the Valencia region, Spain.

Photos: Vegas & Mileto (via V2com)