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Design Awards for Guildford’s Revamped Crematorium From Guildford Society

Published on: 24 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 27 Jan, 2021

New crematorium architecture, intended to help create a “respectful, elevated atmosphere”

The revamped crematorium was honoured in the Guildford Society’s 2020 Design Awards’ virtual ceremony on Thursday (January 21).

Two awards were won, in the New Public Building and Public Art/Public Realm categories. The judges praised the Haverstock-designed replacement of the original 1965 building and the landscaping by Plincke Landscape Architects.

Cllr James Steel

Cllr James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough), lead for the environment, said: “It’s great to see the designs for the crematorium being recognised. Congratulations to everyone who worked on designing and constructing the new building, as well as all of our dedicated staff who have played a critical role in supporting the bereaved during the pandemic.

“This has been an extremely challenging time for many of our residents, who have lost family members and friends during the outbreak, and we hope this has provided a peaceful environment in which families can mark the passing of a loved one.”

In addition to the rebuilding of the main Crematorium, which opened in December 2019, a Flower Room, Book of Remembrance Room, reflective pool, landscaped courtyards and new car parking all help improve the site.

Tom Gibb, of Haverstock Architects, said: “The part of this project that gave me the most delight was the chapel itself. We spent a lot of time looking at the delicate roof structure and weaving in the discreet servicing, and the strong geometric form shows you where the chapel as soon as you arrive at the crematorium.”

Gavin Woolston, of Plincke Landscape Architects, said: “Designing a landscape for a crematorium is very specific. There’s a requirement for a respectful, elevated atmosphere as well as incorporating the functional logistics of organising services, people paying respects and repeat visits.”

Part of the design selected “for its refined elegance and in bringing dignity to a difficult aspect of life”

Peter Coleman, chairman of the judging panel, said: “We were heartened by the high quality of entries, which included a range of new developments and restorations in the borough.

“The judges selected the crematorium. They were impressed by the seamless integration between the well-designed architecture and the external spaces.

“We felt the new buildings and spaces were timeless and would continue to provide a calm and dignified experience for many years to come.”

The Guildford Society was formed in 1896 to promote high standards of planning and architecture and conserve the best of Guildford, its surrounding villages and countryside. Details and supporting videos of all the winners of the 2020 Design Awards can be found on the Guildford Society website at

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test One Response to Design Awards for Guildford’s Revamped Crematorium From Guildford Society

  1. Kay Newnham Reply

    January 24, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Yes – the venue is very pleasing and is a great improvement on the previous building. However, having recently gathered there with my family for the cremation of my mother of 101 (not from COVID) we could not help wondering why were only 17 allowed to attend.

    Government guidelines permit funerals of 30 – so why all that space – which made us all feel very remote?

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