CHROFI and McGregor Coxall have designed Acadia Remembrance Sanctuary as a “bushland cemetery for a secular society.” The architects are proposing a burial ground located in the idyllic setting of a conservation woodland area on the outskirts of Sydney. The project calls for natural graves without headstones, instead opting for GPS technology to find the resting sites of loved ones. The tactic shifts the emphasis of cemeteries from the manicured appearances of individual plots and headstones to the retention and protection of the bush ecology. The proposed cemetery is situated on 10.1 hectares (25 acres) of parkland with a 400 square meter (4,500 square foot) building located at its center.
Visitors to the Sanctuary will begin at an elevated walkway that meanders through the woods toward the Walled Garden. Arriving at this fortress-like facility, a structure formed by vine-covered gabion walls, users are meant to experience a “dignified transition” from the woodland environment to this “other world” interior condition. Inside the Garden, the Gathering Place is a multi-purpose, open-air pavilion, surrounded by shallow reflecting pools and picturesque gardens. There is also a cafe, meant to provide views, quietude, and time for reflection. Further emphasizing an ecological and sustainable approach, the facility is self-sufficient and not connected to the electrical grid.
The project was recently honored as the recipient of the 2016 Future Commercial Award of the World Architecture News, WAN Awards. The Jury included: Mike Lampard, Design Director of Corstorphine + Wright, Robin Partington, Managing Partner of Robin Partington & Partners and Paul Makowicki, Principal of Callison RTKL.