John Puttick Associates have completed a cedar shingle clad mourners’ shelter at North Watford Cemetery outside of London. The shelter, open to the cemetery grounds, is where mourners gather to meet prior to a burial. The new building receiving up to twenty mourners is adjacent to a 1930s Cemetery Lodge designed by architect William Grace. The shelter played an important role this year in helping many of those affected by the pandemic to mark their loss and at a time when parting with loved ones has made it impossible for a final farewell at hospitals.
The organic form of the timber ten metre bench has been designed to mediate between the existing cemetery architecture and surrounding parkland. Its sculptural shape curves gently away from the lodge and towards the informal tree-lined cemetery grounds. The bench sits under the cedar canopy creating an intimate covered open-air environment that allows people to gather in small groups. As a building type - and as interpreted by John Puttick Associates - the mourners’ shelter is a good reminder of how architecture can support important rituals and rites of passage in life.
John Puttick says, “In designing the shelter, we have sought to respond to the calm and pastoral quality of the surrounding landscape with a crafted sculptural form that feels dignified but also has an inherent warmth.” The choice of natural materials, such as timber shingles for the shelter further blends the new extension with its environs. The shingles also provide a subtle, textured feel which sits comfortably with the nature of the existing building.
The shelter’s curving brick base provides a practical way to meet the ground and helps to unite the new single-storey addition with the original two-storey masonry lodge. Two round pierced windows projecting from the mourners’ shelter roof introduce natural light into the space below and have a symbolic quality of connecting the earthly with the celestial. John Puttick Associates have also refurbished the public-facing spaces of the Lodge which will continue to house the cemetery offices. The interiors now feel airy and light, juxtaposing the original features with contemporary designs including bespoke pieces of furniture designed by John Puttick Associates.
Material Used :
1. Facade cladding: Cedar Shingles, Marley Eternit
2. Brickwork: Brunel Smooth Blue, Ibstock
3. Paving: Marshalls Block Paving
4. Flooring: Polyflor Polysafe Quattro
5. Doors: Dualframe 75 Casement
6. Windows: Dualframe 75 Casement
7. Interior lighting: Ansell Mini Downlights
8. Kitchenette: Howden Allendale
9. Interior Tiles: Johnson, Baker Street range