After the threshold | Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Ampliación del cementerio de Camarma de Esteruelas, a escasa distancia de Alcalá de Henares, España
Extension of Camarma de Esteruelas’s cemetery, to scanty distance of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

A cemetery is a raft of time, a hollow in the world that fills and empties with us. The metaphor of our lives like rivers “that are going to give to the sea”1 would transform this emptiness into a vast figurative ocean into whose abysmal depths it rests the history of the Being: the time like one to pass progressively, with a beginning and a final hour. Nevertheless, it interests here the idea of a cyclical, successive time, a time in which the remote future and the immemorial past end for be reconciling. In Octavio Paz‘s words:

“the man is not an animal of progress, but of return”.2

At the end of the 90s Carlos Puente projects the extension of Camarma de Esteruelas’s cemetery in Madrid. The enclosure is delimited by the existing wall and his resumption towards the South, related by a traditional coverage as the crumb of white bread: the revoke.

“A porch in the entry serves as place of meeting and wait and, in spite of his simplicity, not refuses to show a certain solemnity in his composition”.3

The symmetrical interior of the threshold presents a nake front, lived only by the grooves in the shape of cross on the door, the shades of a cornice without fronton or a clock without manacles.

Between the arrested time of the cemetery, atavistic and invasive as the honeysuckle, and the hasty exterior time of the alarms or the semaphores, us occupies the density of the threshold: his shade receives us in a space between times, between the sacred thing and the secular thing. Warned by the clock without manacles, in the space umbralado the message of the poet seems to resound:

“We are the time that we still have”.4

The circular time of The Inmortal one of Borges in El Aleph. The time Robert Smithson‘s spiral in the Great Salty Lake of the desert of Utah. The time after the threshold

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. PhD Architect
Madrid. January 2015.
Author of architecture paragrahs. #arquiParrafos


1. Coplas a la muerte de su padre, Jorge Manrique 1440-1479.

2. Octavio Paz, El País, Babelia 1166, on March 29, 2014. Published originally in Octavio Paz, Itinerario Poético, editorial Atalanta.

3. Carlos Puente, Forma y Memoria, DPA 18, Barcelona, Edicions UPC, 2002, pág. 35.

4. José Manuel Caballero Bonald, We are the time that we still have, in Marcas y Soliloquios, Valencia, Pre-Textos 2013. Published originally in Memorias de Poco Tiempo, 1954.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Doctor en Arquitectura, Decano de la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencia UCJC. Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura,  perteneciente al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Director de MADC Arquitectos, estudio profesional con premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, en la actualidad desarrolla proyectos en España y Noruega. Escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).

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