Harbour View Burial Ground, Award Winning Contemporary Crematorium and Chapel, Poole

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Project Description

A striking new crematorium & chapel with a clear concept set in landscaped grounds.

This new contemporary non-denominational chapel is set within the grounds of Harbour View Woodland Burial Ground in Lytchett Minster, near Poole, Dorset.

“I thought one Crematorium was much like another...and then I attended a service at this one. Quite unique and the perfect choice for my friend’s service”  


The design of the new building draws reference from the traditional use of burial mounds commonly seen in the area. The crematorium nestles within a curving landscaped berm and has a sedum roof giving the impression it has been carved into the landscape. 

Water is an intrinsic part of many spiritual beliefs  and adds an important dimension to the design. The chapel is surrounded by a moat, inspired by Classical Greek Mythology of the River Styx and the journey to the afterworld passing from the side of life to the side of death. The entrance to the building forms a bridge over the 'river' representing the departure from this world and the entry into a sacred place. The moat widens to become a reflecting pool at the southern end of the site.

Internally the building provides a place to reflect and contemplate. Natural materials including stone and timber have been utilised together with the ambient light from clerestory glazing and top lit focal lights to connect those within to another world. A large open plan function room adjoins the chapel and provides far reaching views across open countryside to the Purbeck Hills. The building is partly subterranean and the basement contains a commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, toilets and the cremators.

Landscaping is key to the vision of the new crematorium. Trees are planted throughout the grounds and also line the approach to the entrance. Over time the grass will form a meadow and soften the setting of the building in its landscape so that the building appears as an extension of the natural landscape, hidden within the berms that will become wildlife havens. In contrast, local natural stone walls form strong entrances to the building and line the internal walls of the chapel.

Western Design Architects look forward to seeing the landscape mature around the new crematorium.

View the original concept scheme WOODLAND BURIAL CHAPEL


RIBA South West Awards 2019, Shortlisted

RICS Awards 2019, Shortlisted

International Property Awards 2018 - 2019, Best in UK  'Best Public Service Architecture UK'

UK Property Awards 2018 - 2019, Five Star Award for 'Best Public Service Architecture South West'

Publications: G&G Magazine May 2019, ArchDaily website April 2019, Architecture Today March 2019 

Client: Tapper Funeral Services 

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