The ensemble for the crematorium in Sint-Niklaas has been divided into two buildings: a ceremonial and a technical one (the crematorium proper). The two buildings have the same footprint area but are showing two different programs with inverted design solutions.

The technical building is a volume on a clean platform, the reception building is a roof wrapping and embedding public functions.

Crematorium heimolen / kaan
© Christian Richters

Emptiness, space and clarity predominate in the ceremonial building. A large window offers a contemplative view of the cemetery and landscape, the floor-to-ceiling doors give the room a dramatic quality, and the perforation of the ceiling with round lights reinforces the solemn atmosphere.

Crematorium heimolen / kaan
© Christian Richters
Crematorium heimolen / kaan
© Christian Richters

The use of natural stone and wood enables concentration and ease of thoughts. The actual crematorium building owes its character to the façade composed of concrete cassette tiles, with a sprawl of sun light dots that show it as a beauty box without giving away its content.

Project Details:

Location: Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Type: Public
Program: crematorium and reception building
Design: 2005
Completion: 2008
GFA: 3.187 sqm
Architects: KAAN Architects
Client: Intercommunale Westlede
Project Team: David Hess, Kees Kaan, Hannes Ochmann, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Luuk Stoltenborg, Yaron Tam, Hagar Zur
Photos: Christian Richters and Stijn Bollaert

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Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
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