Crematorium Baumschulenweg / Shultes Frank Architeckten

  • 23 Jan 2013
  • Featured Religious Architecture Selected Works
© Mattias Hamrén

Architects: Shultes Frank Architeckten
Location: , Germany
Architect In Charge: Axel Schultes Architekten, Frank Schultes Witt
Design: Axel Schultes, Charlotte Frank
Project Management: Margret Kister, Christoph Witt
Collaborators: Daniela Andresen, Bob Choeff, Patrick Dierks, Christian Helfrich, Andreas Schuldes, Till Waninger
Area: 9,339 sqm
Photographs: Mattias Hamrén

Project Controlling: Bonner Ingenieurgemeinschaft Berlin Dipl. Ing. Volker Warnat
Structural Engineers: GSE Saar Enseleit und Partner Berlin IDL Berlin
Building Services Engineer: Brandi Ingenieure Leinfelden
Protective Measures: Dr.-Ing. Manfred Flohrer Berlin
Acoustics: Akustik Ingenieurbüro Moll GmbH Berlin
Landscaping: Hannelore Kossel Strassen- und Grünflächenamt Treptow
General Contractor: Bilfinger + Berger Bauaktiengesellschaft Generalunternehmer Berlin

© Mattias Hamrén

‘People die and they are not happy’ – architecture can’t change that. A place of rest, a space for silence: that is something it still manages to provide, despite the fact that not even stones are as heavy as they were in more solid epochs with a firmer belief in the eternal, as in Saqqara, as in Giza, for example.

© Mattias Hamrén

Our final road is uncertain. Neither church nor temple of the dead offer a model for the path to nothingness or angelhood. In lending shape to freedom and necessity, the intensity, the texture of a Maghreb mosque comes closest to meeting the task: a Piazza Coperta, a place in the middle of this cenotaph, where many can assemble and yet the individual is shielded; a catalyst for all our feelings. In this room – 5000 years young – the columns with their capitals of light establish the only reference left to us: a cosmological contrast between populated stacks of clay and the sun with its light.

© Mattias Hamrén

The ceremonial halls – two for 50, one for 250 people – are simply boxes of split stone, set open-fronted into a second, slat-steered casing of glass: the departed soul, the coffin, the urn has gone before already, into the realm of light, is at one now with the heavens, the clouds, the trees.

© Mattias Hamrén

Like no other building – the Museum in Bonn and the Chancellery in Berlin are no exceptions – this one reflects the unbroken will of the architects. A hollowed, jointless block 50 by 70 meters, 10 meters deep in the earth, 10 meters high above it, one stone, one grave-stone, insisting on the material consistency of its several spaces. And if there were a word of truth in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s claim that architecture ‘compels and glorifies; that where there is nothing to glorify there can be no architecture’, then this structure glorifies the quintessence of architecture, celebrates space, the silence of walls in light.


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Cite: "Crematorium Baumschulenweg / Shultes Frank Architeckten" 23 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • mrswoo

    That blue colour would depress me unutterably as a grieving relation – but when did architects use colour in anything but a trite and banal way.

    • Ross

      I actually think the blue is pretty soothing color. Maybe the question that should be asked is whether colors and materials should be sympathetic to the emotions of people in the building, or should they try to change the mood of the inhabitants…

      If you’d lost a loved one, would you want a person to tell you they understand how hard this must be, or would you want them to try to cheer you up with a funny joke? I could see myself responding well to both, but I would guess that Shultes would lean to the former.

  • stefan

    impressive since 1999…..

  • Ken Woods

    no section? no column detail?

  • Kim

    This was in the movie Aeon Flux, very interesting post-Tadao Ando architecture…

  • Dong Chuan Kok

    how come the egg is gone?

  • d.teil

    some images looking just weird here, regarding that the columns are in reality round and the space looks in relaity just much more better.