Benchmark Architects expands its unusual portfolio of projects with a design for a graceful new crematorium and burial ground at Jubilee Park, Huntingdon.
Benchmark Architects was commissioned by CDS (Cemetery Development Service) and Huntingdon Town Council to progress with concept design and planning application work for a new crematorium and burial ground. After consultations with Huntingdon Town Councillors, funeral directors and local residents, Benchmark’s design encompasses a multi-faith hall seating 100 people, crematory, water features, remembrance gardens, administration building, landscaping and parking.
The crematorium is the focal point of the design. A collection of sculptural white cylinders, overlapping and of varying heights, it articulates the mourners’ journey from arriving through an elegant colonnade surrounded by tranquil water, into the light-drenched multi-faith hall, before moving outwards into the covered flower court and beyond to the formal or informal burial grounds.
The interior of the hall is designed to create an uplifting, hopeful and comforting atmosphere. A circular roof light spills brightness down into the space, whilst a large double height window opens the interior onto the landscape across a serene pond. The materials proposed are a simple palette of crisp white brick work and grey texture bricks, with gold and bronze column and door claddings injecting a warm accent colour and texture.
The site is currently home to Huntingdon Town FC and a local archery club, for whom a new Sports Hub and facilities will be built at an alternative location. The current club house will be repurposed to provide rooms for post funeral events, a cafe and an office for town council administration.
Says Mark Doohan, Director at Benchmark Architects:
“A crematorium should be a place that is light, reflective and uplifting. It should be a place, a space that encourages remembrance, a space to pause and reflect. The building should somehow lift the human spirit and I think that naturally lit, lofted and airy spaces can do that.”
This is Benchmark’s second commission from CDS, following a new build mausoleum at Aylesbury cemetery.
Client: Huntingdon Town Council
Employer’s agent: Cemetery Development Services Ltd
PM and QS: MAC Consulting
Planning consultant: DLA Town Planning