Gudmund N. Brandt
1926 – 1933
Citations from the Danish cultural landscape
|The agricultural landscape of Jutland consists of a combination of enclosing hedges, dense forest plots, and open meadows. (Image: freeimages.com)
|Brandt designed the more than 25 hectare cemetery as a rigid framework of broad avenues and yew hedges. (Image: arkitekturbilleder.dk)
|One of the broad avenues that structure the cemetery. (Image: Joost Emmerik)
|The nearly fifty rectangular boxes offer space for all kinds of denominations and spatial experiences. (Image: Joost Emmerik)
|The interpretation of each section in the framework is an interpretation of characteristic elements from the Danish cultural landscape, such as the dense forest, the ditch, the meadow and the field. (Image: Joost Emmerik)
On the way to Copenhagen, you drive from Germany across the mainland of Jutland via the island of Funen to Zealand. The agricultural landscape consists of a combination of enclosing hedges, dense forest plots and open meadows.
At the start of the twentieth century there was a need for a new municipal cemetery in the fast-growing city of Copenhagen. In 1926, landscape architect Gudmund N. Brandt designed the Mariebjerg cemetery, located on former farmland on the northern edge of the city. Up to then, cemeteries in Copenhagen often had a classical layout. Individual graves lay on either side of long avenues, each with its own appearance. Brandt had a different image in mind: the individual grave had to be subordinate to the larger whole.
He designed the over 25 hectare cemetery as a rigid framework of broad avenues and yew hedges. Each avenue is planted with a different tree species - there are avenues with elm, willow, hornbeam and Scots pine. The cemetery consists of almost fifty rectangular sections. Existing landscape elements are included in the design. An apple orchard has been transformed into an avenue. The sections offer room for all kinds of denominations and spatial experiences. There are "traditional" sections with a low hedge around each grave, but also parts with wild grasslands and decaying wooden crosses. At the edges are natural graves, such as urn graves in a forest, with only a stone as a memorial.
The design of each section in the framework is an interpretation of characteristic elements from the Danish cultural landscape, such as the dense forest, the ditch, the meadow and the field, the overgrown slope and the well-kept garden. This palette was the basis for Brandt's modern aesthetic. At Mariebjerg you can find a Skovafdelingen, a forest with oak crosses in rough grassland with Danish forest plants. Occasionally a rose climbs through the tight hedges, or a hedge is interrupted by a tree, like in the mixed hedges of the island of Funen. The Omorika-allee is an avenue with high slender fir trees on a raised wall. The trees are reminiscent of the windbreakers around the fields of West Jutland, the stone walls resemble the ones that can be found in agricultural areas.