When much needed landscape maintenance at the 150 year-old cemetery in Orthen required many graves to be emptied, a competition was held to design a new resting place for the remains of 12,000 people. Buijsenpennock Architects responded by designing an ossuary that can be seen as a series of walls, made by a mesh of rough oak columns and beams.
More about the ossuary after the break.
The ossuary, an uncommon building type in the Netherlands (deceased are usually laid to rest in special wells or fields), contains open spaces in the framework for oak boxes that house the remains of the dead. What begins as an open mesh structure will eventually transform to a completely solid entity as more coffins are pushed into the voids. Each coffin is given an identity as the name of the deceased and the dates of birth and death are placed on the along the shorter sides of the box.
The coffins are separated materialistically from the framework as the walls are simply sawn, while the boxes are planed and sanded. Covered in a zinc and glass roof, sunlight enters the long, narrow and especially high corridors. A large courtyard provides a serene atmosphere for those to remember their loved ones.
Project information Project: Competition Ossuary Orthen Client: BAi, Den Bosch for Cemetery Orthen, Den Bosch Architects: buijsenpennock architects (Ard Buijsen, Iris Pennock) Collaborators: A2 Studio, Rotterdam (renderings); Reynoud Homan (typography) Year: 2009 Price: 2nd price Program: last resting place for 12.000 dead people Gross floor area: 883 m2 Gross content: 5300 m3 Main materials: Oak, zinc, glass