A Sacred Place to Say Goodbye A dynamic form with juxtaposed elements merges into the hillside in a rural setting of Wo Hop Shek in Hong Kong. It calms itself down with reflecting ponds and large tilted lawns. This piece of architecture redefines the image of a crematorium in Hong Kong.
In the old days, crematoriums were designed based on functional needs. They are cold and sad. The emotions of the users were not fully taken care of. In this project, the genuine need of the grieving families throughout the funeral process was revisited and became the first priorities of the design.
A reflecting pond at the entrance of the crematorium cleans the mind of the visitors. By locating the cremator plantroom one floor below the halls, the backdrop of the altar now becomes a natural bamboo yard instead of a curtain. When the filial son presses the button, the coffin will descend slowly to the cremator plant room below. This recalls the most respectful way of ground burial in Chinese tradition. Bamboo also symbolize dignity of noblemen in Chinese Literature. The halls are provided with independent entrance and exit, individual toilets and joss paper burners, to avoid confrontation with the next grieving family.
After the ceremony, the visitor are directed to a central landscape garden. If the family members are in deep sorrow, they could access to the adjoining tilted lawn for meditation. A “Pond of Life” locate at the central garden with bubbles emerge from the middle of the pond symbolize birth of human life. A little waterfall creates sounds of nature and help to reduce sorrow.
Instead of symmetry which creates fear, an asymmetric approach is adopted with vigorous forms which symbolize the variant and hardship of human life.