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The crematorium is an important public building. It has however an ambiguous relationship with self expression, torn between its own technical content and its ceremonial character. To overcome this we designed the building as a big inclined table of which the roof is the protagonist. As a ‘nature morte’ developed together with the artist Richard Venlet it is intended to communicate its particular public content. The big roof itself is placed within a carefully orchestrated landscape designed by Bureau Bas Smets, a set of new landscape elements populating a site in the polders around the coastal city of Ostend.
Under the inclined roof one finds a mix of public, administrative and technical functions in a single story building. The roof is dotted by roof lights and abstract shapes that answer both technical and symbolical requirements. Its spaces are organised in lateral strips of various widths, containing reception areas, waiting rooms and the centrally located ceremonial halls, alternated by thin bands of auxiliary functions and passages. The cremators are located under the highest point of the building. The relation of the spaces to the surrounding landscape is indirect, and mediated through a double facade of glass and perforated metal panels, allowing for a discrete and serene atmosphere in the halls. The twist in direction between the programmatic strips and that of the roof surfaces creates a continuous set of triangular spaces of varying height, which function as a covered arcade around the building.