High rise housing is not just for the living as this building design is now being adapted into crypts to accommodate the dead. With below-ground burial space running out in many cemeteries across the country, multi-storeyed crypts are being considered as a practical alternative.

Accoridng to a story in a story in the Sydney Morning Herald, the heritage-listed Rookwood Necropolis in Sydney – the largest operating cemetery in the southern hemisphere – has transitioned to aboveground multi-storeyed structures with the crypts designed to cater to singles, couples and families. With the concept receiving positive feedback, the cemetery is getting enquiries from across the country to replicate the patented design.

Land has become scarce, especially in urban areas, requiring cemeteries to explore more space-efficient solutions. Going vertical, they believe will provide a practical and sustainable solution to the problem.

Designed by Ignite Architects, the crypts at Rockwood are built as a series of 3.6-metre-high marble-faced walls with sealed capsules stacked four high and containing the coffins. Each building can house 300 crypts. Featuring a very contemporary look, the buildings have an open-air design with open alcoves provided for the privacy of mourners.

The cost of a single crypt is about $30,000, while a family crypt consisting of 12 or 16 crypts on a single wall within enclosed glazed sliding doors costs about $250,000.

In residential architecture, apartments on the higher floors are sold at a premium; however, in these aboveground burial spaces, crypts accessible at eye-level are preferred and go at a higher rate.