Lea Fields Crematorium
West Lindsey District Council
Shortlisted East Midlands LABC Building Excellence Award, 2020
We carried out an extensive analysis of the proposed site, as well as testing of the brief from the Client. It became apparent quite early on that while the client’s initial aspiration had been for a two chapel crematorium, in reality we could innovatively design a single chapel to offer flexibility for both larger services and those that require greater intimacy and hence procure a new crematorium within a more moderate budget. This was achieved by engineering ways to extend the chapel into the lobby and also through high quality design of the chapel space to support larger and more intimate services through lighting, furniture and materiality.
The design is split into three parts respecting the programmatic functions of the plan; the chapel and ancillary spaces, the crematory itself and the staff areas and front office. Externally, the serene and peaceful elevations reflect a simple architectural concept which focuses on the importance of the chapel space by use of a higher volume with a butterfly shape to innovatively conceal the chimney. The Porte-Cochère dominates your arrival to the crematorium, providing strong visual orientation for the mourners from the car park as well as shelter for the cortège and congregation. We have taken the approach to distance the floral tribute from the Chapel. This helps to maintain the flow of mourners through the spaces and to give clarity to individual services and hence the upmost dignity to each family.
The materiality of the proposal comprises of three key elements: an elegant brick volume that defines the form of the building throughout; the use of natural materials both internally and externally to place the building within its landscape, and the carefully considered large bronze framed window panels to articulate the brick building and offer views across the wider site and beyond.
The principle organising feature of the landscape design is an axis which runs across the front of the crematorium building and continues out to connect the various site features for example the memorial gardens, the car parks and the building entrances. Responding to site topography the main axis climbs eight metres to a new Chapel of Remembrance placed specifically at the site’s highest point. Common complications of the crematorium brief occur as services begin and end. In order to reduce the risk of crossover roads and pedestrian routes have been carefully considered across the site and sensitively set within the landscape.