john puttick associates has completed a mourners’ shelter at north watford cemetery outside of london. the cedar shingle clad shelter, open to the cemetery grounds, allows up to 20 mourners to meet prior to a burial. located next to the cemetery lodge, which dates back to the 1930s, the shelter serves as a reminder of how architecture can support important rituals and rites of passage in life.

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england
all images by gareth gardner

 

 

the shelter’s curving brick base provides a practical way to meet the ground and helps to unite the new single-storey addition with the original two-storey masonry lodge. meanwhile, two round pierced windows projecting from the roof of the shelter introduce natural light into the space below. ‘in designing the shelter, we have sought to respond to the calm and pastoral quality of the surrounding landscape with a crafted sculptural form that feels dignified but also has an inherent warmth,’ explains john puttick.

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

 

 

within the shelter, an organically-shaped bench has been designed to mediate between the existing cemetery architecture and the surrounding parkland. its sculptural form curves gently away from the lodge and towards the informal tree-lined cemetery grounds. the choice of natural materials, such as timber shingles for the shelter further blends the new extension with its environs. the shingles also provide a subtle, textured feel which sits comfortably with the nature of the existing building.

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

 

 

john puttick associates also refurbished the public-facing spaces of the lodge, which will continue to house the cemetery’s offices. the interiors now have a more airy and light atmosphere, juxtaposing the original features with contemporary designs including bespoke pieces of furniture by the architects themselves.

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

john puttick associates adds mourners' shelter to cemetery in south east england

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: mourners’ shelter
location: north watford cemetery, watford, UK
client: watford borough council
architect: john puttick associates
structural engineer: momentum
photography: gareth gardner