Crematorium in Aylesbury wins award for best architecture just two years after opening

It took a 'long time' to open, but the crematorium is now an award winner.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:54 pm

The new Bierton Crematorium, which opened in April 2019, has been awarded a RIBA South Award 2021.

RIBA is the Royal Institute of British Architects it has been recognising design work for the past 180 years.

Councillor Nick Naylor said: "It took us a long time to get to the final opening of the crematorium and there were some considerable hurdles to overcome, not least a High Court challenge, but now open it provides the same well-regarded service to residents as we provide at our Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham.

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Bierton Crematorium

"Our crematorium at Amersham had been under tremendous pressure for many years so we were delighted to be able to build and open one in the Aylesbury area – especially with the population in Aylesbury growing so rapidly.”

Councillor Naylor references a five-year struggle to get the crematorium built. Westerleigh, owners of the newly opened Watermead Crematorium issued a High Court legal challenge against the site after it gained planning permission in 2015.

Meaning it only opened in 2019 after winning a lengthy legal dispute.

The Bierton Crematorium is described as a multi-faith chapel accommodating up to 120 people from 10am to 4pm on weekdays and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Inside the building

A Bucks Council spokesperson says that It has extensive gardens with panoramic views over Aylesbury Vale.

Further details are available on the crematorium website here.

A spokesperson for Havestock, the architect company responsible for the crematorium design, said: “It was with great pleasure we were able to nominate this building for an RIBA award. Set on slightly elevated ground north of Aylesbury and the village of Bierton, the design of this new crematorium demonstrates a considered approach to the traditional layout whilst incorporating different cultural needs and providing a respectful setting.

“The building sits low in the landscape and utilises natural and tonal materials that complement that landscape successfully. Whilst the formal planting and arboretum are still establishing, the wild meadow remembrance walk and car parking landscaping provide an indication of how well the landscaping has been considered to integrate with the internal spaces as part of the overall concept.

The building from another angle

“The building plan is clear and functional and allows mourners to proceed from one area to the next in a logical manner, yet offering time to pause and reflect in the floral tribute area or the extensive gardens. The chapel, which is accessed from the waiting room or the covered external area, provides a large, naturally-lit space with areas of north-facing glazing looking out through vertical timber brise-soleil onto a formal arboretum.

“The administrative parts of the building are not just back-of-house spaces, but have been designed, finished and detailed to a high standard similar to that of the chapel – recognising indeed that there are many stages of grief before and beyond the funeral service.

This scheme is successful in delivering a sensitive building in a sensitive location. There is a clear sequence of spaces for the various users of the building facilities and grounds, whether formal or informal.”