Architect: Petra Gipp Arkitektur AB and In Praise of Shadows AB
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Collaborators: Petra Gipp, Katarina Lundeberg, Maria Videgård and Fredric Benesch
Client: Solna Kyrkogårdsförvaltning and Svenska Kyrkan
Contractor: Sundvalls Byggnads AB
Project year: 2011
Project area: 670 sqm
Photographs: Åke E:son Lindman
We see a cemetery as a place which is naturally linked to life. To the development of life through time and through the world, something wandering which suddenly one day can end. A demystified relationship to death makes life easier to live.
Our proposal for a service building at the Ulriksdal Cemetery inserts itself in the rich, magnificent nature of the site. Two volumes at an angle, open up to the northwest and are supplemented with an ancillary building. The volume of the workshop reaches up towards the slope where oak trees grow, pointing in the direction of a future chapel. The long concrete facade with its relief effect, stretches out to form a back drop for the cemetery and separates its tranquility from the activity of the courtyard of the service building.
The service building consists of two different volumes in two different materials, concrete and wood, holding each other. In the meeting between the volumes, the circulation occurs in the form of a cast in place concrete staircase which constitutes the nave between workshops, administration and staff.
This is a place for all faiths and for this reason it addresses the passage from life to death from a humanistic perspective rather than one associated with any particular religion. For the people working at the cemetery with the park, the graves, interment, we want the building to have dignity and provide beautiful spaces as well as carefully balanced light and outlooks from the different functions.
The service building is constructed out of truly sustainable materials which will age naturally and beautifully. The concrete stairs and the floors are cast in place and by choice the traces and defects from the casting process have been left visible. The prefabricated concrete elements of the facade show both their faces, the smooth faces outwards and the more coarse faces inwards. Wood facades and interior walls are built out of long boards of fir, treated with a coat of linseed oil on the exterior but untreated inside the building. Passive, natural ventilation and geothermal heating. The green roof is made of sedum while the detailing is zinc. The inner courtyard facade with its recessed doors and the windows of the administration unit, provide a quiet work space as well as the opportunity to see into the administration building.
The building forms an entryway into the park and cemetery. A building that states its practical function, draws on the industrial but also expresses something of pride and ease which resonates with the free design of the cemetery.