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No Name Memorial. 2007 (Public Art)

The closure of the San Lorenzo Cemetery in Medellin’s downtown, with the intention of constructing a metropolitan park on its grounds, required the relocation of almost 20,000 remains, mostly not recognized, that were buried there.  The municipality chose the Universal Cemetery as their new destination. 


Implied an important challenge, since the condition of this massive volume became the basic design premise: a mass without mourners, a mass that was decided to be treated as a memorial.  Designed in 2004 and constructed between 2005 and 2007, the project became a trigger to reconstruct and revitalize a forgotten, marginal cemetery in an area with a lack of public spaces.  The digital inventory provided by Medellín’s City Hall became the dominant design tool.  The Excel file that contained the information of the deceased was transferred directly to the terrain chosen.  Eliminating the idea of projecting a building, we chose “cabinets” that would house the remains by years.  This resulted in a necropolis of data that were colored according to the colors employed in the modern-day funeral business; that is, the flowers, marbles, statues, etc., reversing the tradition of mourning to be replaced by a festive condition of death, in short: its celebration.  The “cabinets” designed allowed the construction of the new Memorial in stages, under this elemental form of construction.  Concrete blocks on a concrete spine are covered with foil lids painted with electrostatic paint, obeying the colors chosen.

Pablo Gomez Uribe, Esteban Restrepo Restrepo
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