The Crematorium in Ostend, Belgium, designed by the esteemed architectural firm OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, offers a contemplative design that expertly fuses the complex demands of ceremonial practice and technical performance.
Crematorium in Ostend Technical Information
- Architects1: OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
- Location: Ostend, Belgium
- Topics: Sacred Spaces, Crematoriums
- Area: 1750 m2
- Project Year: 2014 – 2021
- Photographs: © Bas Princen
The crematorium building in Ostend considers the ambiguous nature of its content as a space combining technical performance and ceremonial practice.
– OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen Architects
Crematorium in Ostend Photographs
A Subtle Balance of Form and Function
Situated in the polders outside Ostend, this single-story, rectangular building is embedded within a meticulously crafted landscape. The crematorium serves as a nexus point between the organic environment and the geometric precision of the built form.
The architects have engineered a sloping roof supported by a series of columns, creating a visual continuity between the built form and the surrounding landscape. The gradient of the roof achieves dual purposes: it provides a low-profile entrance at the front while accommodating the technical necessities of machines and air-cleaning systems at the rear.
The layout is organized in lateral strips that diverge in width, neatly compartmentalizing the waiting rooms, central ceremonial halls, and technical spaces. These strips are flanked by auxiliary functions and passageways, culminating in a layout that addresses the human experience while maximizing operational efficiency.
One striking feature of the crematorium is a subtle twist in the building’s direction that produces a covered arcade wrapping around the structure. This arcade includes a semi-circular office area that complements the geometric rhythm of the building. This calculated deviation brings an element of dynamism to an otherwise linear plan.
The crematorium employs a double façade consisting of glass and perforated metal panels. This design choice plays an essential role in mediating the relationship between the interior spaces and the landscape. Natural light spills through the perforated panels and combines with the roof lighting to create a tranquil and subdued atmosphere within the building.
The roof is not merely a functional element but serves as a “nature morte” composition of abstract objects. It conceals the functional aspects like chimneys and gutters while alluding to the symbolic undertones intrinsic to the building’s purpose.
The Crematorium by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen transcends the conventional expectations of a building serving such a specific function. Through its measured layout, thoughtful materiality, and nuanced architectural expressions, it offers a dignified space that balances both the technical and ceremonial aspects seamlessly. In doing so, it reflects an architecture that is deeply mindful of human emotion and technical rigor alike, positioning itself as an architectural marvel worth global attention.
Crematorium in Ostend Plans
Crematorium in Ostend Image Gallery
About OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen is a Brussels-based architectural firm founded in 2002 by Kersten Geers and David Van Severen. Renowned for their minimalist approach and conceptual rigour, the firm engages in projects that range from exhibitions and temporary installations to large-scale urban interventions. They adopt a cross-disciplinary methodology, often incorporating elements from art, literature, and sociology to enrich the spatial and contextual quality of their work. The firm has gained international recognition for its innovative designs, such as the Centre for Traditional Music in Bahrain, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, solidifying their reputation as thought leaders in contemporary architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Collaborators: Bureau Bas Smets, Richard Venlet, UTIL Struktuurstudies, Henk Pijpaert engineering