The new crematory
Landscape and woodlands are vital components of the Woodland Cemetery
experience. This being so, the crematory is sited at the far end of the competi-
tion site, thus giving visitors time to pass through the wood on their way to the
building, This winding progress through the wood becomes a valuable part of
preparation for visiting the crematory.
The crematory volume is block-like, with a brick exterior. Inside the overarching
volume, however, one finds units greatly differing in character. The crematory
is gently inserted into the undulating terrain by means of a section emanating
from the highest room in the building. The building includes two equally seized
open spaces, namely courtyards for staff and visitors respectively.
The approaching visitor sees the west façade as an asymmetric backdrop with
an integral but contrasting roof indicating the entrance. The areas of winding
stone paving in between the trees take the forest path as the basic configura-
Building and Landscape
The new crematory is a compact, almost square building, functionally ratio-
nalised but on the outside somewhat enigmatic. The western corner of the
building, overlooking the new approach road, indicates the entrance to visitors
and mourners, while the north side contains an entrance for funeral vehicles
and staff. The crematory is characterised by its compact volume and uniform
brick exterior, embraced by large, asymmetric expanses of roofing. As one co-
mes closer to the crematory these components become more distinct, most
prominent among them being the large freestanding roof. This roof marks the
visitors’ entrance but also provides generous shelter and space for mourners
present during the hour-long cremation process. The intention is for individuals
or groups of mourners to be able to leave the mourners’ room temporarily and,
in the shelter of the roof, find peace and quiet in contact with the surrounding
woods and with the sounds coming from them. In the end wall of the furnace
room, next to the free-standing roof, is a doorway for special occasions. One
of the large pine trees on the site is retained in the opening in the middle of the
roof. The surfacing under the canopy roof is natural stone.
Alongside the road leading to the crematory, the existing trees will be thinned
out to create a pillared wood of pine trees. Otherwise the existing stands will
be left untouched for the most part, the aim being to preserve the surroundings
as untamed woodlands to the greatest extent possible.
The visitor approaching on foot or by car first enters the newly made asphalt
road and then, in the glade where the building becomes fully visible, crosses
the wide stone paving which winds through the trees and up to the crematory.
In this progress towards the crematory, the new road passes by the former
asphalted car park, which is now replaced with new ground vegetation of ling
and blueberry. Benches are set out by the roadside. The stone-paved areas,
on a level with the asphalt, consist of granite blocks measuring about 150x300
mm. The stones are packed closest together beside the road, petering out in
tree positions and at certain open expanses of lawn. The density of the stone
paving by the roadside makes it also serviceable as a carriageway and turning
point for cars and taxis.
The lighting along the road and up to the crematory is highly important. At the turning-off and along the new road it will take the form of park lampposts. Bollard versions of the same lighting will be installed by the stone-paved areas in front of the crematory. Along the north side of the crematory, by the entrance to the Reception Hall, the same lighting fittings will be mounted on brackets.
To minimise the impact of roads and turning points on the landscape, funeral and utility vehicle traffic will be one-way, exiting at Östanvindsvägen.
Workplace and Facilities for Mourners
The plain outer volume of the crematory contains internal room sequences with
noticeable variation and dynamic. The sequence between the top-lit reception
hall via the moderate height of the refrigeration rooms to the bright and spacious facility of the furnace room is one such example. Apart from making the building technically efficient, the purpose of these room configurations is to offer workplaces with an atmosphere of light and dignity.
The reception hall is on the north side of the building, out of sight of visitors.
Its outer zone comprises the roofed entrance where floral decorations can be
removed from the coffin and placed in receptacles on the outside of the en-
trance. (The same receptacles can also be used from the outside.) The inner, top-lit reception hall gives access to all refrigeration rooms, registry and other facilities.
Administrative and staff facilities form a coherent unit which has good contact
with the Reception Hall, furnace hall and office. These facilities are grouped
round an atrium which provides overview, contact with the surrounding trees
and a sheltered patio for warm summer days.
The furnace hall is the larges room in the building. It is lit from the south and
has visual contact with the wooded hill on the south side of the crematory. The individualised roof of this hall gives it character, creating a recognisable relation between the interior and the building’s outer roof design.
The facilities for mourners and next-of-kin comprise the mourners’ room next to
the furnace room and the ceremonial room for urn collection. These two rooms
adjoin the office and are reached through a single entrance and waiting room
overlooking the outdoor room under the canopy roof.
Building Design and Materials
Within the ostensibly homogeneous volume of the crematory, many different
materials merge to form a coherent but multi-faceted building. The framework
is in-situ cast concrete, special care being devoted to the furnace room, using
concrete with white cement and Dolomite ballast.
The exterior has a cladding of hard-fired, dark brown Kolumba brick, manufac-
tured by the Danish firm of Petersen. This long-narrow brick is laid with a bond
endowing the robust material with a virtually textile appearance. To underscore
the uniform idiom of the crematory, the roof is made of the same hard-fired
brick as the façades, but the tiles are laid with their flat sides in mortar above a
layer of concrete topping with foam glass insulation underneath.
For further definition of the building’s tectonic qualities, the façade cornice
is reinforced with a 2-course coping of concrete. This detail accentuates the
meeting of roof and wall, and the inside of the coping is fitted with a stainless
cornice channel (see detail).
The free-standing roof in the western corner of the crematory conforms closely to the volume indicated by the surrounding brick building, but the roof is of deal
heartwood from the site. Tectonically the roof is abstract, with a uniform, con-
sistent alignment of all the roof joists. In its untreated state, the roof will soon
acquire a grey-patinated surface.
The wooden canopy roof may be made of heartwood from some of the spruce
trees which will have to be felled. Should this be possible, the stone paving
areas in front of the crematory can be laid with stone extracted from the large
shaft which will have to be made in the bedrock to accommodate the basement storey. A rock shaft of this kind demands time, care and planning but will on the other hand hark back to earlier land and quarrying work at the cemetery. This work will make an instructive example of everyday recycling.
The crematory layout is prepared for a future expansion with the addition of one
more furnace, involving a minimum of new construction activities. We recom-
mend that the facilities for ash preparation, urn handling and urn storage make
way for an additional furnace, the underlying basement storey of which will
already be constructed during the first phase. With a longer furnace hall a con-
nection is made to an additional cold store. Subsequently an extension for ash
preparation, urn handling and urn storage can be constructed on plinths which
can already be put in place during the initial construction phase.