Text description provided by the architects. Surrounded by large pine trees the church and crematorium of the Northern Cemetery in Kalmar lies beautifully. It was originally designed by the architect Rudolf Holmgren at Birch-Holmgren Arkitekter and completed in 1963. The crematorium had a small renovation done in the 90’s, replacing older technical systems with modern technology, but it was still in great need of an overall renovation. Increased demands of the program also required an extension of the building.
A thoughtful process with the main focus on creating a dignified farewell has led to a development of a slightly new facility. It’s placement and material follows the order Rudolf Holmgren chose fifty years ago: pitch-faced limestone, plaster and lacquered oak façade, allowing it to attach with a humble approach.
An additional story of technical facilities has been added below the existing building. In order to fit all the required technology, large and poorly used spaces in the basement were made available, some through excavation. With this solution, the noise generated by the technical systems does not interfere with the light sound from the pine trees outside.
The interior floor is just as the original buildings’ made of polished limestone in different tones. For warmer character of the ceremony-room, the planed limestone was chosen, with the beautiful and timeless tool-chiseled ”carpet” aligned in the center.
The crematory now offers a completely different working environment. A transformation from typical industrial approach towards a intimate and dignified last farewell, providing an opportunity for the families to attend the cremation of the deceased, if chosen. To the east the untouched view that provides the unique character of the ceremony-room was found. While seated, the low horizontal window cuts the view and creates a strong relation to the softly shaped lawn with the pine trunks shimmering in the light.
The crematorium was awarded the 2014 Swedish Stone Industry Association's prize ”Stenpriset” and the 2014 Swedish Association of Architects Blekinge- Kalmar's local architecture prize.