It may sound like pretense, but when you practice funerary architecture you engage the beautiful solemnity of eternity. How do we express the permanence of our impermanence? In this graceful addition and reworking of a mid-century funeral home at the Portland Catholic Cemetery in Happy Valley we turned to light, materials and nature. We expound upon the existing structure’s material build of stone and wood to connect the home to nature in a more conspicuous way. In the chapel, foundational white stone gives way to warm wood rising to 22 feet at the ceiling; one of two instances where we break the mid-century structure’s customary low horizontal profile. Light, strategically placed by clerestory windows to the east and a long slitted window to the west, streams to bring a contemplative warmth to the space. We’ve arranged the plan to cleverly screen the private and public sections from one another allowing funeral directors unseen access to all rooms while leaving services and mourners entirely undisturbed. We’ve re-landscaped the entry to include a reflecting pond along the front face in order to provide a softer, meditative transition from exterior to interior. Through material and light we’ve bound the structure to the earth to reference its temporalities—and hopefully we’ve created a space that allows for their eternal reflection.

status

Under Construction

 

client

Gethsemani Funeral Home

 

location

Portland, OR

 

budget

Undisclosed

 

team

Chris DiLoreto

Stephanie Fitzhugh

Chris LoNigro

 

civil | structural

 

mechanical | electrical

 

acoustics

 

imagery

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