Béton brut crematorium offers a “peaceful oasis” for mourners

KAAN Architecten selected a palette of marble, concrete and oak to imbue a sense of calm on the grieving process at Crematorium Siesegem in Aalst, Belgium.

Gently undulating landscaping marks the approach to Crematorium Siesegem, beginning to set a slower rhythm for mourners as they transition from the hectic outside world to the final destination of their loved one. 

Once they reach the crematorium, tall openings in the board-marked walls welcome them inside to a sequence of spaces devised by Dutch practice KAAN Architectes to aid the mourning process. 

The ceilings strecth 6.4 metres without interruption, creating a sense of serenity “without succumbing to pompoous monumentalism”.

“The Crematorium Siesegem is an ode to verticality, while being horizontal and pure in its geometry and balanced proportions,” say KAAN Architecten.

“Its calm, easily readable environment and tranquil landscape merge together to emanate genuine serenity.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows facing the gardens naturally illuminate rooms, which are finished in a combination of concrete, marble and rough-sprayed plaster that has been applied as a sound dampener. 

Wooden beams replace the rough sprayed plaster in the two ceremonial rooms, adding a touch of domestic comfort to the spaces that adjoin the over room. 

Detached from these spaces is are a succession of rooms dedicated to gathering, where funeral parties can share a meal together following the service. 

While spaces prodominately span the full height of the building, areas were the ceiling has been lowered to create more intimate spaces permits room for a number of offices on an upper storey dedicated to the running of the facilities. 

Crematorium Siesegem
crematorium, multifunctional space
KAAN Architecten: Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio
Bas Barendse, Dante Borgo, Maicol Cardelli, Timo Cardol, Sebastian van Damme, Paolo Faleschini, Raluca Firicel, Cristina Gonzalo Cuairán, Michael Geensen, Walter Hoogerwerf, Marco Lanna, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Exequiel Mulder, Ismael Planelles Naya, Giulia Rapizza, Ana Rivero Esteban, Giacomo Rizzi
5.000 sqm
Main contractor:
Jan de Nul, Hofstade-Aalst (Belgium)
Advisor construction:
Pieters Bouwtechniek, Delft (Netherlands)
Project management:
KAAN Architecten, Rotterdam; Bureau Bouwtechniek, Antwerp (Belgium)
Water, electrical, installations and supervision:
Henk Pijpaert Engineering, Oudenaarde (Belgium)
Acoustics, climate, physics:
DGMR, Arnhem (Netherlands)
DFW, Broek op Langedijk (Netherlands)
BIS, Ridderkerk (Netherlands)
Erik Dhont, Brussels (Belgium)
Rinus Van de Velde

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