Victorian Premier, the Hon Daniel Andrews recently opened the Bunurong Memorial Park Southern Aurora Centre, designed as a community space for various celebratory, reflective and commemorative events.

Designed by reputed architecture firm 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, cafĂ©, 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.