A cemetery’s role as a special form of garden is the guiding concept at this burial site for members of Islamic religious communities. Low concrete walls in dark pink contrast with the green of nature, lending structure to the cemetery. The same material is used for the building that houses the washroom and storage room. This structure merges with the protective roof of the “farewell room”, which in turn remains open to the left and to the front. On the right-hand side, the facility is bordered by a guide wall with artistic ornamentation featuring an oriental-inspired interplay of light and shade.
The municipality of Altach is responsible for running the site, which offers space for around 700 graves. Constructed in accordance with Islamic religious requirements, the cemetery comprises a graveyard, a ritual washroom, a covered area for bidding farewell to the deceased and a prayer room. In keeping with traditional ritual, the deceased are buried lying on their side with their face turned towards Mecca. The simplicity of this contemporary architectural design, which characterises both the facility and the graves themselves, reflects the principles of Islam and its rejection of mortuary cults
The project was particularly notable for its collaborative development process, incorporating all Islamic communities, the State of Vorarlberg and the municipality of Altach. This helped ensure broad acceptance of what was only the second Islamic cemetery in all of Austria. The architectural solution and designers were chosen as part of a 2007 competition, were subsequently integrated into the wide-ranging development process and have since received international recognition.
Bosnian artist Azra Akzamija designed the prayer room and an artistic curtain using wooden shingles inscribed with “Allah” and “Mohammed”, thereby honouring Islamic building tradition. A large wooden lattice made from solid oak components is also clearly visible from the entrance.
Architecture: Bernardo Bader, 2007 – 2012Opening hours
Public access to the cemetery from 8:00 to 21:00. Entry to prayer room on request.
Author: Robert Fabach