This cemetery – Skogskyrkogården –, a masterpiece of the Modern Movement, was designed and built over a period of almost fifty years by Erik Gunnar Asplund (1885-1940) and Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975). It occupies a site gashed by three gravel pits and surrounded by over a hundred hectares of woodland at Stockholm/Enskede. It was commissioned (1915) by Stockholm City Council and contains 100,000 tombs, half of which are private.
The site combines the natural landscape (light and the forest) and the artificial landscape (the curved edge of the gravel pits) to create a cultural landscape capable of conveying a sacred dimension, ecschewing the conventional iconography of Christian burial in favour of a dialogue between earth and sky, wood and lawn, shade and light and between the dense vertical weft of the tall dark trees and the horizontal surfaces on which the tombstones are laid.
The Carlo Scarpa Prize was awarded to the Stockholm Municipal Cemeteries Department in recognition of the Council’s cultural vision, its sensitivity to social values and individual rights and its commitment to provide the financial means and managerial and scientific expertise necessary to maintain such a huge undertaking.
Text taken from the 1995 Carlo Scarpa Prize Statement, edited by the Jury.