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Oak Hill Lawn Crematorium Shortlisted for the Brick Awards 2024

Oak Hill Lawn Crematorium Shortlisted for the Brick Awards 2024

We are thrilled to share that Oak Hill Lawn Crematorium has been shortlisted in the Public Category for the 2024 Brick Awards.

Oak Hill Lawn Crematorium is a new bereavement centre and crematorium for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. The scheme is located at Oak Hill Lawn Cemetery, South Way, Hatfield.
The project includes a new crematorium with capacity for 150 people in a double storey chapel, office and administration facilities and extensive landscaping works to enhance the existing cemetery including flower court and dedicated memorial spaces. The building has been designed to minimise visual impact on the surrounding greenbelt and uses the existing topography to ensure that the highest part of the building sits below the existing tree line.

To the rear of the building, a separate grounds staff office and workshop is provided that will be sub-contracted out to the ground’s maintenance company. New parking will be provided offering space for both crematorium and cemetery users. Landscaping has been enhanced across the site that includes new attenuation and reflective ponds, as well has new planting and wayfinding signage.
Brickwork was selected as the primary façade material for its low maintenance qualities, and for the way in which it complements the monolithic architectural style. Careful consideration was given to selecting a brick colour to enable the building to sit harmoniously within the landscape. It was critical that the overall mass did not exceed the existing site topography and the building complimented the very natural and changing backdrop. The selected brick colour works successfully with the natural green and brown shades of the trees behind across all four seasons.

The building adopts several key brickwork details to breakdown its expansive appearance. The top of the double height chapel adopts a projecting detail which acts as the crown of the building. The appearance of the projections changes throughout the day depending on how the sun causes shadows to be cast. A perforated brick detail is used to provide a semi-transparent façade to the publicly accessible memorial garden. This contrasts with the more private and enclosed flower court, and aids in the experience of creating a graduated exit from the building.
A further brick detail on the scheme is the double recess solider course. There is a distinctive stonework banding that wraps around the front-of-house parts of the façade. To provide a continuation of this banding in the brickwork areas, a double soldier course with recesses above and below was developed. This successfully unifies the whole façade and links the multiple geometries together.

We were first commissioned to work with Hatfield Council in 2017 to provide technical architectural design for the initial planning approved proposals by Gollings Architects. The project did not move forward at that time and after a period of consideration, Benchmark Architects was successful at invited tender to win the opportunity to revise the design and resubmit the planning application, which was approved in 2020. We led the stage 4 technical design, then were novated to the main contractor for the construction stage, ensuring quality and refinement throughout.

3 July 2024

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