Crematorium Thun


Friedhof Schoren, 3600 Thun

Type of contract

Competition, 2015


City of Thun


Pauli Stricker GmbH, St.Gallen

The new crematorium of the Thun-Schoren cemetery is located in the south-western area of the site, shifting the location away from Strättligenstrasse and the small-scale built fabric in the southeast. The building sits along the cemetery’s existing network of paths, and its setting creates outdoor spaces of varying quality and function. Individual groups of deciduous trees create a park-like atmosphere in the transition to the existing residential and commercial buildings nearby. More

A pedestrian entrance to the cemetery is planned on Strättligenstrasse – spatially structured by a planting of trees and shrubs. The building counters the unexciting outdoor spaces with relatively closed and rather simple building structures. Towards the existing cemetery in the north and towards a possible cemetery extension in the east, the building appears more differentiated and symbolic in terms of its volume and expression. It mediates between far and near – between landscape and people.
While the new crematorium appears ambivalent and ambiguous from the outside in order to be able to react to different external spatial situations and to set accents, its internal organisation follows a few clear principles. The core of the building is formed by an atrium building, around whose inner courtyard the functions close to the public are organised, namely the burial rooms and relatives’ rooms as well as a quiet loggia in the heart of the complex. Connected to this courtyard house are four wings, one on each side. The furnace wing, with its anteroom is the most striking in its setting and volume.
Inside, the central rooms for the visitor are organised around an inner courtyard, which provides light and offers a place to rest. A small group of pine trees (which symbolise the soul) protrudes through the opening of the inner courtyard and symbolises the soul’s path to heaven. The extensive planting of low-growing juniper (which symbolise life and death) and perennial shrubs and grasses create an intimate, contemplative mood. The entire public areas are welcoming to spend time there. Somewhat apart from these spaces organised around the courtyard is the furnace anteroom with the adjacent incinerators. This space is introverted. A protective shell, air above it, a roof, generous and yet not quite tangible – the furnace anteroom is meant to be a vessel for rituals of farewell. Two openings provide views to the outside; a portico creates the necessary intimacy.
From the outside, the crematorium appears as a single-storey building, even if it is finely shaped as a volume. The roof construction rests on a brick base made of different, but always related materials. The roof of the atrium building slopes down towards the inner courtyard and provides light for the burial rooms, while it can unfold its presence in the inner courtyard, turning it into an intimate place. Finally, the wooden structure rises steeply above the furnace anteroom – the roof creates space inside for the ceremony, and from the outside this significant act is given an appropriate presence.

Central atrium
Situation plan
A funeral room
Floor plan
View from the cemetery
Axonometric: construction logic
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