The recent expansion of the Werribee Mausoleum at the historical Werribee cemetery in Melbourne, VIC, saw the addition of 170 new resting places.

Designed by BENT Architecture, the extension project comprises of two distinct structures – a garden mausoleum and a family mausolea – each bookending the original mausoleum.

Located to the east of the original building, the new garden mausoleum contains 140 outward-facing crypts, doubling the original capacity. The building continues the existing materiality of in-situ concrete and stone shutter faces.

Additionally, a series of family mausolea to the west of the building comprises of four private family rooms and chapels, each accommodating five or ten resting places.

Flanking the original mausoleum designed by BAU, the new structures maintain the symbolism and monumentality of the existing building. Though the dramatic Corbusian pre-cast roof form extends over the new additions, there is a gap between the new and existing structures at the ground level, forming a new entryway on the eastern side.

The family mausolea to the west feature family rooms, each with a landscaped forecourt for gatherings, covered by a floating concrete canopy and paved with bluestone, which continues into the interior space. Mourners within the enclosed spaces retain their privacy thanks to the patterned anodised aluminium screens, while openings provide views to the cemetery's olive grove to the north.

The concrete and stone materiality of the exterior softens into rose-coloured Australian granite crypt shutters within the chapels, which when combined with vertical cedar panelling cast a warm glow in the space.

The southern wall of the family mausolea features a niche to place photographs, memorabilia and religious icons. The stained glass windows cast a halo of coloured and patterned light, with the play of colour, light, pattern and movement creating an appropriately ethereal atmosphere.

Photographs: Tatjana Plitt