New Crematorium Ltd
- Civic Trust Commendation, 2000
- RIBA Award, 2000
- RIBA Stirling Prize, Finalist, 2000
The “public” and “spiritual” uses of the building (the chapel, vestry and waiting area) are separated from the “business” use (the crematorium process) by a two meter thick sound proof wall that runs through the centre of the building. This wall divides the chapel from the crematory, and also operates as both a barrier and threshold between the “death” and the “life” sections of the crematorium. The three dimensional form of the building contains a major primary symbolic entity. This is the massive chapel wall which contains the catafalque and through which the coffin passes into the crematorium area. From this wall soars a single pitch roof supported on expressed steel columns and beams. The most significant feature of the crematorium is the floor to ceiling structural glazing in the main chapel space. The chapel looks outward contrary to most crematoria where the whole ceremony of “death” is normally very inward looking focused on the catafalque. Here the user can look away and acknowledge the rural surroundings with the new an old landscape flowing into the building. There is a natural progression for the cortege through the waiting area and chapel into the flower walk to view the floral tributes. From here, mourners may gather in the gardens or are led to the pick-up point where they collect their transport. The three dimensional form of the building bestows a major primary symbolic entity.
The crematorium has been a huge success setting new standards for this building type in Europe as well as the UK. It was named by “The Independent” as one of the 50 best buildings of all time.
Photography by Dennis Gilbert/View