In 2015 the City of Ahaus decided to thoroughly refurbish their chapel and to rebuild the funeral parlor at the central cemetery in Ahaus.
For this special task we used four major design elements: the guidance of pathways, materiality, light and nature.
Guidance of Pathways
The ensemble consists of two main buildings. The chapel is located in the north, orthogonally to the new funeral parlor, to enable direct access between the two buildings.
It was important for us to facilitate the daily work routine using short and functional pathways. After preservation and embalming of the bodies in the mortuary, the coffins can be moved straight to the chapel where a further exit at the end of the room leads directly to the cemetery.
The funeral parlor requires an intimate area where mourners have the chance to give their last tribute to the deceased. Therefore, we created a long corridor in the back of the building to access various viewing rooms. If required, the fabric curtains behind the inner windows can be opened, so that the visitor can keep the distance to the deceased person. Close relatives have the chance to enter the room and close the curtains behind them.
In front of the buildings we designed an inner courtyard which is planted with grass and a central tree. Surrounded by high brick walls the courtyard provides visual privacy from possible distractions.
Both, the funeral parlor and the chapel have large openings so that we create a seamless and smooth transition from the inside to the outside. Thus, the visitor gets a visual connection to nature at any time.
Using large windows, both the chapel and the foyer inside the funeral parlor get flooded with light which creates an inviting atmosphere for visitors and mourners. Additional indirect lighting completes the warm and open atmosphere inside both buildings.
Our design approach was to use materials which contribute to a calm and restrained surrounding. Therefore, we used warm native timber surfaces like oak paired with light textured Emoton clay plaster inside the buildings. The façade is made of Hagemeister clinker bricks which create together with the standing seam roofing a homogenous and coherent image.
Basically, we tried to create a place of contemplation and silence which facilitates mourning by the use of an optimized guidance of pathways, restraint materials, pleasant lighting and the omnipresent connection to nature.
Material Used :
1. Hagemeister - Clinker brick facade - Weimar HS, thin format
2. Vmzinc - Roofing chapel - Azengar, standing seam
3. VD Holz in Form, VD Werkstätrten GmbH - chapel door - 2468 gap
4. Emoton - Wall plaster, surface filler - area coarse