Harewood Memorial Gardens Crematorium
The unusual nature of the brief, going beyond the usual shelter for the living, provided the practice with an opportunity to consider imaginative new ways of organising space and form, and ultimately led to an extraordinarily graceful building.
Using familiar construction elements such as concrete, extensive glazing and exposed timber structure, the crematorium soars both in design and in lifting the spirit.
The original site was drab and uninviting: blank, open, flat ground with semi-industrial wasteland beyond. To create the garden and relate the chapel to its site, a long rectangular enclosed space was created, opening at one end and contained on three sides by concrete-block walls, grand in size and yet fittingly pious. The chapel bridges this enclosed space, with an entrance through the walls, and full glass facades on each side - one looking onto a square formal garden and the other down the length of an informally planted garden to the open ground beyond. A bold 'V' is made by the intersection of the welcoming canopy roof and the roof of the chapel rising to a precast concrete plane. The firmly grounded concrete block walls juxtapose the flying grace of the winged chapel. Appropriately, the crematorium processes are hidden beyond the far wall.