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Death in Mind - An Integrated Crematorium and Cemetery Landscape for the Living.

Part 2 Project 2003
Tom Rogers
Birmingham City University UK
The crematorium and its cemetery landscape site forms a symbiotic relationship that provides a dignified and respectful context for death. They combine to create pockets of activity and points of reference allowing us to physically and mentally retrace the journey through our period of grief and mourning so as the event may become embedded in our memory. Death is provided with a true sense of reality by fusing spatial qualities with our most primeval of emotions, instilling a feeling of finality to a most traumatic of times.
The scheme responds to both the personal and public needs of mourning and remembrance considering both individual and shared experiences of true meaning and ceremony not just mere process. Events are layered through burying the crematorium below ground and creating a monumental space on the surface, integrated, orientating and framing the existing cemetery and remembrance gardens to provide a heightened sense of final resting place.

Tom Rogers

Tom Rogers’ crematorium design exploits established landscape and planting to enhance the site’s presence in a large cemetery. Formal planting and carefully controlled landform enclose and partially bury the buildings, contributing to the serenity of the scheme. Mourners are encouraged to explore and, indeed, to celebrate the relationship between death and living.
Clarity of form and diagram extend confidently into detailed material construction. The use of working models and exploratory drawings ensure that qualitative decisions are clearly understood. Computer drawings assist the presentation, although the facile glibness of much current computer work is sensibly avoided.
As with all successful works of art, this project invites more readings from the observer than are immediately evident. Materials and form show references to Ando, but the rich use of daylight and texture are closer to Kahn.
Tom Rogers work shows the mature assurance of a well researched and deeply considered thesis.

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