A cremation ceremony is generally poor in offering the visitor something to hold on to or any sense of comfort. This is not the case with a burial, which enjoys a much longer tradition and has a sense of ritual. This sense of ritual comes largely from the fact that the burial takes place in clearly defined stages, whereby the visitor moves from home, to church or hall, to the grave and finally to the café. Moving through these phases, through different spaces, is an important part of coping with the loss of a loved one. In designing the crematorium we therefore took as a starting point not the event of the cremation itself, but the ritual of the whole operation. All the elements of the mourning ceremony are arranged spatially in the design around an inner courtyard. Wooden roofs span the reception and condolence areas. Tall glass panels look out over the tops of the surrounding trees. The rooms open out on enclosed patios. The hall is in the centre of the inner courtyard. It is made up of tall wooden rafters with glass panels in between and a wooden roof.
Architect: Herman Zeinstra
Team: P. Cannon, M. Stuhlmacher, C. Gefner, A. Gysi
Year: 1996 - 2002
Client: Crematorium bv, Haarlem
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