Mausoleum Remembering the Past by Celebrating Simplicity | The Plan
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Mausoleum Remembering the Past by Celebrating Simplicity

Mileto & Vegas Arquitectos

The mausoleum of the Soriano Manzanet family in Vila-real in the province of Castellón, Spain, has a threefold narrative. It tells the stories of José Soriano, founder of the ceramic tile manufacturing company, Porcelanosa, to whom the chapel is dedicated, of the architect-builder Rafael Guastavino, a fellow Valencian who exported the timbrel vault technique to the United States at the end of the 19th century, and lastly, of the family members, architects and craftsmen who helped design and build it. In 1956 at the age of 25, José Soriano set up Porcelanosa, a ceramic tile company that would become a world leader in its sector. 15 years after his untimely death in 2000 in a car accident, the family commemorated him with this mausoleum in the Vila-real cemetery. In doing so they also make reference to the memory of a much less well-known compatriot who was nonetheless key to making Valencian and Mediterranean building techniques internationally recognized: Rafael Guastavino, who in the late 19th century took to America the timbrel, or Guastavino, vault - vaults made exclusively of extremely thin bricks or tiles that are exceptionally tension and fire resistant. Still today, the most important public buildings in New York and Boston boast original timbrel vaulting. Back in Spain, the technique was taken up by Catalan Modernism, namely by Gaudì and his contemporaries. The architects called to interpret the family’s wishes, Camilla Mileto and Fernando Vegas, are very knowledgeable about Guastavino having studied his work at length. Once the idea of using the timbrel vault had been accepted, dialogue started between the client, architects, craftsmen and builders, leading to the realization of a joint project. The family wanted the mausoleum to be an architectural reflection of José Soriano the man - a sociable, honest, open minded and humble person whose entrepreneurial genius was coupled with a genuine social conscience that led him to provide the best for...

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