In a surrounding of great pine trees, at the Northern Cemetery in Kalmar, the church and crematorium lies peacefully. Originally designed by the architect Rudolf Holmgren at Birch-Holmgren Arkitekter in 1963, the facility was in great need of renovation. The crematorium had a smaller renovation in the 90's, replacing older technologies with newer, modern technology. Still in need of further renovation due to increased demands of use, an additional extension was required.
A thoughtful process, where the main focus was on creating a dignified farewell, led to the development of new functions and facilities. The materials of the new building follows the order Rudolf Holmgren chose fifty years ago: pitch-faced limestone, plaster and lacquered oak façade – allowing it to attach with a humble approach.
An additional story of technical facilities has been added below the existing building. In order to fit all the required technology, large and poorly used spaces in the basement were made available, some through excavation. With this solution, the noise generated by the technical systems does not interfere with the light sound from the pine trees outside – allowing a greater experience during various rituals and ceremonies.
The interior floor is just as the original buildings’ made of polished limestone in different tones. For warmer character of the ceremony-room, the planed limestone was chosen, with the beautiful and timeless tool-chiseled ”carpet” aligned in the center of the room.
The crematory now offers a completely different working environment. A transformation from typical industrial approach towards a intimate and dignified last farewell, providing an opportunity for the families to attend the cremation of the deceased, if chosen. To the east the untouched view that provides the unique character of the ceremony-room was found. While seated, the low horizontal window cuts the view and creates a strong relation to the softly shaped lawn with the pine trunks shimmering in the light.
The crematorium was awarded the 2014 Swedish Stone Industry Association's prize ”Stenpriset” and the 2014 Swedish Association of Architects Blekinge- Kalmar's local architecture prize. 2017 it was one of the nominees in Archdailys Religious Building of the Year Award.
Staffan Strindberg / Nick Flygt / Per-Olof Sällström
Kalmar Parish Union