The Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is the final resting place of the city’s elite. Like Argentina, its fortunes have waned over the past few decades. It’s its decrepitude as much as its ceremonial pomp that makes it interesting to me. Mausoleums in general interest me because of their bare, mundane program. The designers have only to provide space for caskets and urns, beyond that all is symbolism and mythmaking in architecture, light, and sculpture. Without pesky driveways, plumbing, foundations, heating systems, etc. the designers are free to build architectural gestures to their patrons in an unfettered, vast array of historic styles, embellished with sculpture in stone, bronze and plaster, dramatically lit through stained glass and skylights.
Actually, with almost a third of the tombs derelict in some way, some spectacularly derelict, perhaps the architects should have spent a bit more time on their waterproofing plans. Doors hang ajar. Ferns take root; some of the tombs now resemble terrariums. Stained glass skylights crashed from the ceiling drape over altarpieces and coffins now open to the elements.
I love this image of the illuminated (skylit) stairway down to the crypt.