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Regreening of the Dardagny cemetery: connecting through plants

ID card
  • Name of the project: Dardagny Cemetery

  • Location city/canton: Dardagny, canton of Geneva

  • Type of project: Public space

  • Project start date: 2021

  • Delivery date: 2023

  • Surface area of ​​the AMEX project: 5,150 m2

  • SIA phases: 31 - 53

  • Partner company: Setex SA, DGP Immobilier Sàrl

The mission

✔️ Reconstruct a large crashed email to find an initial historical state.

✔️ Propose a park connected to the entrance to the cemetery, the road and the surrounding vineyards

✔️ Create a garden of remembrance and a columbarium in response to changes in funeral practices.

✔️ Integrate a logic of regreening mineral surfaces.

The brief

This regreening and redevelopment project for a cemetery is located in Dardagny, a wine-growing town in the Geneva countryside. Like many places of contemplation and memory, it is surrounded by four walls and mainly covered with gravel.

We were mandated by the municipality to provide a global reflection on the entire perimeter and thus offer a uniform spatial reading and appropriation. This reflection aims on the one hand to bring plants to a totally mineral space, in particular by replanting a line of trees lost following a felling campaign. On the other hand, to conceptualize a park on the adjacent land, connecting the cemetery to the road. Our thinking was to bring these two plots into dialogue by unifying them through plants and making them both appropriable by visitors and users.

Regreening and upgrading the Dardagny cemetery

The central idea behind a cemetery regreening project is to restore biodiversity to a space previously entirely made of gravel. Our goal here is to allow appropriation of vegetation through trees, shrub masses and low grassy strata. Three structures with distinct ambiances work together to create a harmonious whole.

The park space is located in connection between the road and the entrance to the cemetery. It consists of an open grass area, plantations on mounds, a car park and a management area intended for road workers. A sculpture “Jeanne des Vignes”, signed by a local artist and received as a donation by the municipality, was positioned on a stone monolith at the entrance to the park. She welcomes visitors, looking towards the vineyards in the distance.

Near the entrance to the cemetery, we designed a memorial garden for the burial of ashes as well as a columbarium for placing funeral urns. A large planting area with human-scale trees offers an intimate setting. Commemorative plaques and a bench protected by a vegetated cap complete this area dedicated to meditation.

At the back of the cemetery, a planted promenade punctuated with benches provides an intimate setting for a moment of rest and contemplation. A walkway leads the visitor to the foot of a fountain revealing a panorama of the large landscape. This opening, cut into the surrounding wall, reveals the vineyards, the river and the Allondon plain.

A guideline to connect the park, cemetery and landscape

Our bias: a strong guideline that runs through the entire project. This backbone of flow distribution connects the park and the different areas of the cemetery to end with this panoramic opening onto the hillside landscape. This line represents more than a simple visual element, it responds to a major challenge of the project: accessibility. With all surfaces of the cemetery being gravel, access for the elderly and disabled was a central concern. To solve this problem, we materialized this line on the ground with a concrete covering, providing a smooth surface to facilitate the movement of people with reduced mobility.

Focus on: managing a construction site at a place of contemplation

Carrying out work as part of a cemetery project is always a complex challenge that requires a sensitive and respectful approach. During the design phase, we must take into account the varied expectations and diverse sensitivities surrounding this type of place of memory and contemplation. During the construction site, particular attention is given to the companies with which we work. A sector-based approach allows you to move forward methodically while minimizing disruption. The objective is to have the most discreet presence possible to guarantee the tranquility of visitors.

A place of memory with multiple plant ambiances

The Dardagny cemetery illustrates the reflections of our landscape architecture firm around the questions of regreening places of contemplation and memory. By proposing a sensitive approach while meeting the needs of the community, we were able to infuse these two communal plots with an intimate and human plant atmosphere. The real plus of this project is to have collaborated with a majority of local companies. All the agents, very involved, worked hand in hand in a spirit of mutual assistance. This is also what allowed us to carry out a project that respects the site and its users.
“Working on a cemetery is always delicate, because it requires adjusting many sensitivities. You must be respectful from the start of the project to the end of the construction site. »