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Crematorium, Amiens, France

When building a crematory, architecture touches on an especially sensitive part of life. The construction in the French Amiens offers people in mourning a dignified place to say farewell. 

Whenever the matter concerns sensitive themes such as death and parting, architecture has to provide a respectful framework and may not impose itself. The assumption could be made that such a requirement does not leave a lot of room for individualized design. The architects from Plan 01, a collaboration of five Parisian offices have a different opinion: They discovered the emotionally-charged topic as an inspiring element and have once more designed a crematory in Amiens.

Their building avoids right angles and sharp edges. Instead, it combines circular building parts, formed with patterned concrete and golden framed, floor-to-ceiling windows. The ribbed concrete façade which is formed with RECKLI formliners, supports the circular design. The restrained design is rounded off through the sandstone-colored finish and the golden window frames which are visually aligned with the surrounding park. Irrespective of the used concrete and metal, the color scheme ensures a warm, calming atmosphere.

The circular shapes envelop the chimney of the crematory and make it disappear from the onlooker’s field of vision. Two hectares of park area surround the building which can be entered by the mourning party through three entrances. The surrounding park neatly conceals the two parking lots, from which a path each leads to the building located on the opposite sides. This way, two congregations of mourners can use the crematory at the same time. A fourth entrance in the back area serves as the entrance for the undertaker.

The round shapes are also continued in the building’s interior and were used by the architects to create paths for several funeral parties. A discrete path leads to the crematory in the back area of the building. Public areas such as the lobby are fashioned with a glossy floor, white ceilings and patterned walls. The two chapels and the ceremonial rooms feature brown carpeting. Floor-to-ceiling windows and ceiling lights flood the interior with light. “Confronted with the emotional intensity of a cremation, our architectural design provides a place that each visitor can take in and interpret differently”, explain the architects. 

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