An innovative cemetery model designed by CHROFI and McGregor+Coxall has won the WAN Future Projects Commercial Award 2015.

The World Architecture News (WAN) Awards is an international architecture awards program with projects across 22 categories recognised throughout the year. The WAN Future Projects Commercial Award 2015 went to CHROFI and McGregor+Coxall for their unique project Acacia Remembrance Sanctuary. 

The winner was selected from a final shortlist of six projects by an experienced jury panel comprising of Mike Lampard, Design Director of Corstorphine + Wright; Robin Partington, Managing Partner of Robin Partington & Partners; and Paul Makowicki, Principal of Callison RTKL.

The winning entry, Acacia Remembrance Sanctuary was designed to reflect Australia’s increasingly secular society as well as the community’s changing attitudes to death and dying. This shift in personal beliefs and philosophies is challenging the existing funeral industry and traditional cemetery establishment.

Located within the idyllic setting of a conservation woodland area on the outskirts of Sydney, Acacia Remembrance Sanctuary was designed as a new cemetery model from the outset. Seeking to challenge the idea of a contemporary cemetery, the design creates a site-wide experience with a specific focus on natural burials without headstones.

Some of the design highlights of the Acacia Remembrance Sanctuary include unique bush ecology where GPS technology is used to locate the resting place of loved ones; sustainability initiatives creating an ‘off the grid’ facility; elevated walkway at the entrance meandering above the landscape through the tranquil native park leading to the Walled Garden; and threshold comprising of vine covered gabion walls and a rippling line of water to enliven the powerful entry corridor.

The Gathering Place, located at the heart of the cemetery, is a multipurpose open-air pavilion framed by a reflective pond and surrounding picturesque gardens. An adjoining café invites visitors to enjoy a quiet landscaped courtyard with picturesque views and moments of peaceful reflection.