The Sixth Pantheon of the Chacarita Cemetery was built during 1950-58 and designed by one of the first female Argentine architects, Itala Fulvia Villa, a key figure in Argentina’s modernist architectural legacy and a member of the illustrious Grupo Austral, creators of the iconic butterfly chair. Vanessa Bell provides a brief background below with photographs by Javier Agustín Rojas. (Bell and Rojas collaborated on our recently published Brutalist Buenos Aires Map.)
The Pantheon is the first modernist work of its kind applied to the design of a cemetery on this scale, created to house 40,000 niches. A labyrinthine network of subterranean galleries and vaults is interconnected by a series of walkways, punctuated by open courtyards and patios characterised by hanging wall planters and vegetation. The result is an oasis of calm split over two levels below ground accessible by generous stairwells, all hidden from view from the landscaped garden above.
For years the work was solely credited to Clorindo Testa, despite his more minor collaborative role in the project designing the concrete temple and the Torii-gate-style monuments scattered above ground.
The cemetery, located in west Buenos Aires is open to the public and beyond the Sixth Pantheon the grounds also include remarkable more intimate mausoleums from the late 19th century to today.
All photography by Javier Agustín Rojas
The Sixth Pantheon is the May building on our Brutalist Calendar 2023 and is included on our Brutalist Buenos Aires Map written by Vanessa Bell, available to purchase here. View our complete selection of Brutalist publications here.