Caruso St John Architects

2009
Location: Stockholm, SE
Client: Stockholm Cemeteries Board
Project Status: Competition

Caruso St John were invited to participate in the competition to design a new crematorium building for Stockholm's Skogskyrkogården (Woodland Cemetery), a world heritage site renowned for its landscape and architecture by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz.

The body of the new crematorium emerges from the forest floor like rock outcrop, its copper cladding draws horizontal lines against which one can measure the topography as it rises and falls. The repeated figure of the oversized roof windows sets up a rhythm that rhymes with the closely spaced trunks of the ancient pines. The Hall of the new crematorium is lit by a series of high clerestories that bring light and the shadows of moving trees to the interior.

An intimate clearing with a soft floor and an abundance of wild flowers provides a resting point at the entrance to the mourner’s room. The floor of the room is raised half a metre from the level of the crematorium, to give distance and privacy between the mourner and the process of the cremation. A large decorative window made in white cast glass allows a soft light to fall onto the western most furnace of the new crematorium.

A forecourt to the east of the new crematorium accommodates all of the service activities. Three sugar maples mark the passing and rebirth of the seasons, the red colour of their leaves providing warmth within the surrounding Nordic forest.