project: funeral hall in Prague site: Prague /Czech Republic/ year: 2012 author: lukas cimprich co-authors: martin machu, michal svec
Rationale behind the Choice of the General Location of the Building
The proposed funeral hall is located on the main axis of the cemetery. It acts as the culmination of the dominant feature, which is enhanced by its location on the hill.
Rationale behind the Architectural Design of the Building
The funeral Hall consists of three basic sections. They are arranged so that the resulting form has a dominant character with a clear vertical line symbolizing drama, hope, and transcendence, and a horizontal line representing peace, reconciliation and rationality.
The west section has external dimensions of 4.5 x 8.8 x 3m. It contains the main entrance for the mourners, a small office and a wheelchair accessible toilet. The central section is intended purely for the actual funeral hall. With dimensions of 4.5 x 9 x 8.4 m., it has a clearly readable slim character. Thanks to this, this section appears to be greater than it actually is. Between the central and west sections there is a covered passage leading into the inner courtyard. Because of the sloping terrain, this is partly located below the surrounding surfaces. The courtyard contains an entrance for coffins with folding glass doors. This has the effect of displacing the east section from the actual funeral parlor. However, because of the original roofing arrangement, it is still part of a single object, unified in form. A small storage-area is located within it, containing a sink. It has dimensions of 4.5 x 6 x 3m.
Rationale behind Certain Features of the Design of the Building
A wall system was used to ensure the static construction of the building. The walls of the heated space (the west and central sections) are made of concrete insulation blocks, with a thickness of of 300 mm. and hand-polished white plaster (U = 0,27). Those walls and retaining walls that are not used for separating heated and unheated space are made of monolithic concrete as well and are plastered white. The horizontal structures are composed of liaporconcrete ceiling tiles. The roofs are flat, and are coated with a light harling up to the hight of the loft.This has an aesthetic function, since the roofing over the lower sections is visible from the north. Furthermore, the harling protects the waterproofing and replaces the anchoring. The area of the funeral hall is divided by a monolithic reinforced concrete construction into 2 parts. This creates a part for the mourners and especially for the catafalque with the coffin. In the part situated above the seating for the mourners there is a lowered ceiling. This lowering is achieved by means of liaporconcrete ceiling tiles. Above this tiling there is extensive glazing, through which light is admitted. This is scattered around the upper area, giving it a unique character. The ceiling above the catafalque is also made of glass. Because of this, there is a steady and constant flow of light on to the catafalque.
The funeral Hall is designed for wheelchair access. This is obtained from from ground level on the eastern side. The whole area allows persons with reduced mobility to move freely and easily around.