Architects are often in the business of creating structures made to excite or awe, but not all buildings are meant to elicit such emotions. Plan 01 designed the crematorium in Amiens, France, to evoke calmness and serenity for its visitors instead. The walls’ circular motifs and the surrounding gardens invite funeral guests into a space of comfort and warmth during times when that is exactly what is needed.
The Amiens Crematorium’s uniquely rounded structure is a purposeful separation from “the world of right angles” so common in architecture. Full-length windows set into golden frames invite daylight inside and offer a calming view of the nearby gardens for guests attending services. Two of the entrances are surrounded by this natural beauty while the third, as well as the chimney for the furnaces, are respectfully hidden in the rolling hills behind the structure.
Indoors, the circular bones of the building are fluidly linked together, yet can be separated with soft curtains. The central lobby welcomes guests with its brightly illuminating skylight. In the rooms for funeral services textured concrete walls and warm brown carpeting compliment the tall windows and serve as a blank canvas for funerals to be personalized.
“The success of this approach lies in its ability to create the environment of a dignified and serene experience during one of the most dreaded moments of our existence – the loss of a loved one – and, what is more, during one of the most tangible and extreme moments, when the body of the deceased person is cremated,” explain the architects. The Amiens Crematorium certainly embodies this respectful approach and creates a safe space for loved ones to grieve.