BVN have employed a 7.5 tonne sliding glass façade for a recent project at the Bunurong Memorial Park, south east of Melbourne.

Australian industrial design firm, Tilt collaborated with BVN on the design of the unique sliding façade which wraps the front of a lake-side chapel. The facade consists of three curved glass panes, forming a floor-to-ceiling window, which can be lowered to waist-height to allow open-air access to the environment or raised to offer protection from the elements.

Weighing approximately 2.5 tonnes and sized at around 7m long and  2.5m high, each window is raised and lowered by synchronised electric actuators to ensure quiet operation.

Tilt noted that a significant amount of time was invested in cross referencing the interface between the products and ensuring that weatherproofing and connection details were well resolved.

As the chapel is cantilevered over a lake, the design offers patrons open air access to the environment as desired, and protection from the elements when necessary. This flexibility in design enables the client to offer a unique facility capable of making the most of all weather conditions.

Open and Closed: the three glass panels are raised lowered by electric actuators. Photography by John Gollings



The chapel is just a small part of the Bunurong Memorial Park Southern Aurora Centre recently opened by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.

Designed by BVN in collaboration with Aspect Studios, the Bunurong Memorial Park features distinctive gardens arranged as a connected suite of intimate and public spaces bound by ‘quiet’ buildings with transparent portals that open directly to the garden setting.

BVN Principal Jane Williams notes that the series of garden vistas and rooms are linked to the existing lake, now reimagined as the ‘heart’ of a broader network that will include future stages. Buildings incorporating reflection spaces (chapels), function rooms, café, florist and service centre support the widest possible range of reflective and celebratory events.

According to Williams, a pedestrian commemoration bridge connecting the central gardens to the curvilinear outdoor chapel, which opens directly to the lake, is a major design highlight.


Focussing on the use of identifiably Australian materials and detailing, the complex features distinctive native plants combined with rusted steel landscape walls, red earth paths and berms, reflective water pools, and rammed earth walls. The eucalypt timber joinery and interior and exterior colours extend the repertoire of the buildings being ‘reverential’ backgrounds to the colour and energy of the gardens.

Alongside funerals, the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust expects the Bunurong Memorial Park to be used as a destination for celebrations of all kinds including weddings.

Photography by John Gollings