Italian Cemetery Mausoleum Chapel

Submitted by Arthur Stern

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Client: Italian Cemetery

Location: Colma, CA, United States

Completion date: 1987

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Artist

Arthur Stern

Arthur Stern Studios

Architect

Robert Overstreet

Robert Overstreet Architect

Overview

This monumental sculptural art glass installation has a featured area over the building entrance that is 35′ high x 28′ wide x 15′ deep, and resembles a large kaleidoscope as you can see through one plane of glass to another. There is a rear elevation and side aisles with art glass as well. The project features beveled and engraved plate glass, and leaded glass with a cast glass cross.

Goals

This project was the ultimate challenge of integrating the shapes, graphics, and color palette of the art glass design with the architecture. I designed the entire framework as well as the glass detailing. The palette consists of somber muted tones since it is a cemetery, prismatic beveled and engraved glass, as well as tiny spots of red, white and green, the colors in the flag of Italy.

Process

The architect Robert Overstreet was my professor in College. He was a student of Bruce Goff and Frank Lloyd Wright. Overstreet gave me a lot of responsibility in creating the designs for the glass, especially considering this was my first major project and was also instrumental in helping sell my concepts to the Cemetery Board, who lacked the vision to imagine it prior to construction.

Additional Information

This project earned Design Awards from the American Institute of Architects in both the Architecture and Art in Architecture categories. It has been widely published in both books and magazines. I consider this a once in a career opportunity to design at this scale a large sculptural installation that is so important and integral to the architecture.