Cafe Pavilion / Martenson and Nagel Theissen Architecture

© Brigida González

Architects: Martenson and Nagel Theissen Architecture
Location: , Germany
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 150 sqm
Photographs: Brigida González

Site and Commission

The town cemetery in the Eastern part of Düren has taken on the role of a public park. Before, there was nowhere for cemetery visitors to shelter nor for large or small funeral ceremonies to take place. The new cemetery and café pavilion is a space where people can encounter each other when things are out of the ordinary. They can grieve together, exchange memories and look for refuge, which they will find under a multifaceted ceiling landscape.

© Brigida González

Diversity in Unity

The architecture of the pavilion unfolds out of a neutral, nondescript, square ground plan. Three closed volumes have been inserted to accommodate the service facilities of the pavilion; they structure the space and divide the ground plan into three areas, without blocking them off from one another. Each of the three areas, which all receive visitors, is characterized by archetypical roof shapes and varying room heights, combining to form one large space. The barrel vault, the mono-pitch roof and the tented roof of the visitor areas together form a manifold, continuous ceiling landscape, which offers refuge and connects the visitor areas to form a flowing unified space; it also provides richly diverse views into the surrounding park. The landscape profile created by these roof shapes can be read on the façade; it connects the individual exterior elevations of the building with one another.


Structure and Materiality

The simple materials applied give this pavilion clarity and uniqueness. Dolomite stone from the Alps was sprinkled into the reinforced floor slab while it was being poured to give the floor of the pavilion a lively, terrazzo-like feeling after it was sanded. Pre-produced timber elements form the walls and the ceiling landscape, giving the interior spaces a homogenous, monolithic appearance. The large roof volume, which covers the pavilion and accommodates the ventilation pipes, has been shaped using a timber framework. The façade of the roof is formed by Kerto panels, which also bear large format panes of glass; these are highly reflective to give the mourners the necessary intimacy. During the day, the pavilion interlaces with the surrounding greenery, which is extended by its reflection in the glass façade. This effect is reversed at night when the façade becomes transparent and the interior space dominates the appearance of the building.

© Brigida González

The color scheme of the pavilion is based on the color of the dignified plane trees, which characterize the cemetery park; this finds expression in silver-glazed timber surfaces, oxidized aluminium windows, and green colored glazing.

© Brigida González

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Cafe Pavilion / Martenson and Nagel Theissen Architecture" 04 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Jimbob

    It cannot be underestimated how much a multifaceted ceiling landscape can help one grieve and share memories of a recently deceased loved one. Beautiful.

    • patrick

      I found your comment interesting but wasn’t sure what you mean. Can you please explain why “…a multifaceted ceiling landscape can help one grieve and share memories of a recently deceased loved one”?

      • Jimbob

        My comment is a reference to the deeply spiritual effect a multifaceted ceiling landscape can have on the process of grieving and the difficulty people would have in finding refuge, grieving or sharing stories of a loved one under a regular ceiling.

        Or it is mocking the unnecessary archi-speak given in the project description.

  • up_today_arch

    sophisticated and modest at the same time….