Lakewood Cemetery’s Garden Mausoleum Design by HGA Architects


Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA Architects and Engineers have developed the Garden Mausoleum, positioned in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Governed being a non-profit from its beginning, the Lakewood Cemetery Association established the requirement for prudent preparing to guarantee its vitality for that indefinite abundant term. Despite the wide expanses of Lakewood’s grounds, a mere 25 acres continue being designed for long run advancement.

With a preexisting 1967 Mausoleum nearing volume (due typically towards amplified popularity and want for previously mentioned environment burial and cremation) the Cemetery’s Board of Trustees commissioned a detailed Master Plan in 2003.

The lynchpin in the prepare known as for just a brand new Mausoleum to develop through terrain choices for crypt and cremation burials, so to accommodate modern memorial rites and tactics. The project, a brand new “Garden Mausoleum” labeled for burial area for about five thousand persons, a committal chapel, a very considerably essential reception place for post-service gatherings, and new landscaping about the approximately 4 acre internet web page.


Challenged whilst using the project of including a sizable construction – 24,500 rectangle ft – using a significantly lover spot, Joan Soranno, FAIA and John Cook, FAIA of HGA Architects and Engineers easily devoted by themself with a method that guarded and increased the cemetery’s historic landscape.

A substantial developing, regardless how artful, was destined to detract from Lakewood’s pastoral attractiveness. Following an intensive internet site analysis, Joan and John decided to seek out the constructing with you the northern borders from a 1960’s period “sunken again back back back back garden.”

By putting the modern Garden Mausoleum involving the current, two-story mausoleum bound towards the west with each other with the cemetery’s 1910 Byzantine styled memorial chapel in just the east, growth is clustered approximately a position close by the cemetery’s entry. This has the advantage of consolidating considerably on the significant targeted traffic and infrastructure with a discrete precinct when in the grounds, bequeathing the huge the vast majority in the initial landscape and crucial admittance sheds undisturbed.


Entering the cemetery on the primary entry gates, site prospects tactic the revolutionary Garden Mausoleum along among the a lot of cemetery’s many meandering roadways. Pivoting around a mass of towering pines and aged gnarled oaks, the roadway softly inflects towards the Mausoleum entry – arrangement back in the highway with a smaller turn-around generate.

A uncomplicated mass of split-faced grey granite, the entry’s chiseled clerestory windows and canted recesses hint with the creating’s inside capabilities and complexity, when lowering the structure’s visible heft.


To the east in the entry, a natural roofing planted in the cheaper garden standard easily extends the cemetery’s manicured turf to your freshly developed ignore. Minimally comprehensive railings, terrace paving, grass, and Juniper shrubs make sure uninterrupted views to like vital characteristics for the reason that nearby Chapel along with the iconic Fridley and Pence monuments.

Though effectively a ripped lawn, neatly angled grass mounds dot the popular turf like minimalist landform sculptures. The projections incorporate the skylights towards the creating’s subterranean spaces – a first advice towards prospects on the fusion among the building and landscape.


The Garden Mausoleum access at road quality represents only a smaller tiny proportion in the complete building mass, and comprises a reception area and lounge, a smallish tiny business office, and event caterers conveniences. A whole two-thirds from your building is placed beneath, tucked quietly right right into a south-facing slope and overlooking the cheaper garden.


At the principle entry, framing a set of two of bronze doors, complex styles of bright mosaic tiles trace arcs and infinite loops all over billowing areas neatly inscribed in the darker granite mass. The contrast of textures – gentle-weight and dark, tough and smooth, rustic and refined – get in touch with on equally equally graphic and tactile senses.

The great a a glass doors, sheathed in bronze grilles that duplicate the looping, circular motif on the mosaic floor tile, usher visitors into a serene area of folded mahogany partitions, plentiful prisms of daylight and distant views throughout a recently landscaped reduced garden.


A generously scaled stair draws visitors from the entry on the decrease garden tier. To the west, a sweeping Venetian plaster wall directs mourners into a tiny chapel for committal ceremonies.

Mitigating the committal chapel’s subjection to immediate southern sun, extra tall window recesses are reduced at seriously raked angles in the wide exterior wall – a technique that equally moderates the brightness coming into the contemplative area and makes certain a qualification of solitude for grieving close household.


Returning on the lobby, a straightforward rectangular beginning reduced in the difficult granite wall represents the threshold in concerning the effective and communal spaces with the mausoleum, along with the destinations of burial, remembrance, and human being contemplation. Stretching east, an individual longer hallway strings together alternating bays of columbaria (for cremated remains) and crypt rooms (for caskets).

To the north, chambers are constructed completely below grade, with just about every spot illuminated with a particular skylight; rectangular openings for crypt rooms, and circular occuli for columbaria. Here, beams of daylight trace arcs around the Alabama White marble partitions. To the south, the projecting crypt rooms and interstitial columbaria sort a cycle of intimately scaled courtyards, with every individual and every residing area instantly tied for the reduced garden’s landscape by huge windows.


While geometrically similar, every simple inside cavity and projecting room is distinguished by understated style modifications that give each place a individual persona and disposition. Inset areas of luminous onyx alternate among honey yellow, jade green, and coral pink. Window and skylight orientations rotate and shift among rooms, variously framing a obtain to in close proximity to or distant horizons, around the hardwood canopy, or obvious teal sky.

The pattern recognizes that in contemplating loss – as in living things – individuals have varied points of views and desire uniqueness. It respects that in building a ultimate resting place for twenty thousand people, individuality, individual’s level, and also a sensory interconnection to the normal local community are paramount.


Material choices pull on memorial architectural custom together with Lakewood’s unique record. Conventional funerary elements like granite, marble and bronze are reinterpreted inside of a 21st hundred years architectural appearance.

The polychrome Chapel mosaics, for example, function being a springboard for that the white kind of marble and glass tile routine that owes as often to Byzantium in addition as the environmentally friendly tracery with the Chicago School since it does to geometric algorithms and funerary symbolism.


Included being a significant function on the Garden Mausoleum project, the redesign with the four-acre site strengthens the connections in among Lakewood’s distinct architecture, while supplying a serene setting for both smaller spouse and children providers and bigger community presentations.

Formal marriages between the Chapel, the current Mausoleum plus the brand new Garden Mausoleum are strengthened by double rows of Autumn Blaze maple woods, an easy arrangement of walkways and parterres, and also a good rectangular reflecting share.

Additionally, a grove of Hawthorne trees ameliorates the accessible out of doors crypt walls on the east, while numerous exterior stairs strengthen access between the cheaper garden as effectively as the adjoining historic burial plots.


The Lakewood Garden Mausoleum, genuine to the Cemetery’s non-sectarian mission, develops its significance from essentially the most frequent and indelible factors of a persons expertise – the immediacy of light and dark, the immutability of squares and circles, plus the echo of stone surfaces. An unabashed 21st hundred years building, the style on the Garden Mausoleum isn’t about to confuse anybody by what’s old and that which is new.

Already a extraordinary place just before the Mausoleum broke ground, Lakewood’s landscape and its tiny campus of houses are enriched due to the fact the device perhaps there is – framing a view, doing an edge, and embracing person’s scale. At this cherished haven through the city, architectural advance fits record with grace plus a fresh determined vitality.


Architects: Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA Architects and Engineers
Photo credit: Paul Crosby Photography

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