New crematorium in Hertfordshire receives high praise from Civic Trust Awards

Simon Jacobs - HH Crematorium
Simon Jacobs Photography

Hemel Hempstead Crematorium has been ‘Highly Commended’ by the Civic Trust Awards, a ceremony which celebrates outstanding eco-friendly, architectural and design achievements worldwide...

This recognition has been achieved against 320 submitted projects from across the world, of which 68 were presented with National/International Awards or were Highly Commended. It marks a significant acknowledgment of the Crematorium’s exceptional attributes, including its unique design elements and commitment to providing a serene and inclusive space for mourners.

The 770m² facility is situated within the picturesque green belt south of Hemel Hempstead and boasts a design that maximises natural light and scenic views, utilising the surrounding landscape as a poignant backdrop for the 140-person capacity chapel and the separate pavilion for memorials.

The layout with the positioning of the lectern slightly off centre, is designed for intimacy regardless of service size, and the asymmetrical layout and use of timber create a serene atmosphere. Extensive landscaping, including memorial gardens, woodland areas, and mown grass paths, have also been integrated seamlessly into the design, emphasising the importance of a serene and well-organised space for visitors and staff alike.

Hemel Hempstead Crematorium is owned and managed by West Herts Crematorium Joint Committee, which comprises of Watford Borough Council, Dacorum Borough Council, Hertsmere Borough Council, St Albans City & District Council, and Three Rivers District Council. The judges’ comments on the awards were: “This is a high quality and well-crafted building, and it was obvious from our visit that there had been a strong working relationship between architect and client.”

© Simon Kennedy

Cllr David Major, Chair of the West Herts Crematorium Joint Committee, said: “The crematorium's 'Highly Commended' recognition by the Civic Trust Awards celebrates not only architectural excellence but also a deep commitment to creating a serene and inclusive space for all. Its integration with the natural landscape and thoughtful design elements stand as a testament to its significance as a place of solace and remembrance."

Cllr Aga Dychton, Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Community at Watford Borough Council, said: “Acknowledged among 320 global projects, the crematorium's commendation highlights its exceptional design and eco-friendly credentials, as well as its dedication to providing a dignified setting for mourners. The collaboration between the architect and West Herts Crematorium Joint Committee shines through, reflecting a shared vision for a facility that seamlessly merges with its surroundings, offering solace amidst nature.”

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Simon Kennedy

Published: 6th May 2024

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