Design а columbarium for one of the most iconic cemeteries in the world, Forest Cemetery in Riga, Latvia.
Register: NOV/03/2021, Submit: DEC/08/2021, Eligibility: Anyone, architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies, students; individually, teams up to 4 members, Fee: Architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 90 EUR, students 70 EUR (JUN/01 – JUL/06/2020); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 110 EUR, students 90 EUR (JUL/07/2020 – SEP/08/2021); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 130 EUR, students 110 EUR (SEP/09 – NOV/03/2021); +21% VAT, discount for 3+ registrations from one university/school; Awards: 1st Prize: 5,000 EUR, 2nd Prize: 2,000 EUR, 3rd Prize: 1,000 EUR; Riga City Council Housing and Environment Department Favourite Award 1,000 EUR; Archhive Student Award: 500 EUR + 50 EUR gift card at Archhive Books, BB Green Award: 500 EUR, 6 Honorable Mentions; + construction
Death is a fundamental part of the human existence, and its impact on us has inspired some of the most important architectural achievements in human history. Marking the lives and deaths of important figures, rulers, and heroes has been the driving force behind many wonderful and influential structures, from memorials and mausoleums all the way back to the ancient pyramids in Egypt.
Bee Breeders have partnered with Riga City Council Housing and Environment Department, calling for submissions for a columbarium to be designed for one of the most iconic cemeteries in the world, Forest Cemetery in Riga, Latvia. The ‘Columbarium – The Chamber of Memories’ will look to accommodate 500 niches for family memorials, allowing loved ones to be laid to rest in the company of some of Latvia’s most influential figures.
First established in 1904, Riga’s Forest Cemetery incorporated aspects of landscape design that made the site much more than just a cemetery. The original director of the gardens, Georg Kufald, modelled the cemetery a er Hamburg’s Ohlsdorf Cemetery, the biggest rural cemetery in the world.
The Forest Cemetery was planned using a number of garden art principles, including pine-covered dunes alternating with wide Plains, and a network of main and smaller paths that circle the property, to artfully combine natural landscapes with the composition of regular French gardens.
As it was originally designed as a park, it was prohibited to install high grave clusters within Forest Cemetery or fence o grave sites. The cemetery was also divided between seven congregations in 1912: Reformed, Dome, Peter, Gertrude Latvian, Gertrude German, John, Jesus and Jacob.
However, the First World War prevented many of the original plans from being implemented, including the large chapel “Black Cross” by the architect Hans Werner. Forest Cemetery was used to bury those soldiers who died fighting in the war, resulting in the Riga Brothers Cemetery Memorial being established on site. The Forest Cemetery also includes a burial ground surrounded by white crosses where those killed under the Soviet regime of 1940-41 were buried.
Forest Cemetery is still one of the most artistically expressive burial sites in the world, with 69 protected art monuments of national significance registered by the State Cultural Heritage Board alongside memorial sculptures and monuments of the well-known and celebrated individuals remembered there.
Today, the Forest Cemetery remains one of the largest, most historically significant burial sites in Latvia. It is here where the country’s presidents and freedom fighters, soldiers and scientists, martyrs and cultural icons are laid to rest, including the poet Jānis Pliekšāns and the first Latvian Foreign Minister, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics.
The ‘Columbarium – The Chamber of Memories’ competition is a collaboration with Riga City Council Housing and Environment Department in Latvia. Participants are invited to submit designs for a columbarium planned for the Forest Cemetery. They will need to design a columbarium that can house 500 niches, each of which can hold one to four urns.
In addition to this, participants are asked to create a comprehensive landscape design solution for the entire cemetery. This competition is a chance for architecture and design enthusiasts to reflect on life and death, and communicate their relationship to the concept through architecture. How can architectural design help in the grieving process? What would make it a respectable place of solace where loved ones can visit those that have passed on?
DESIGN REQUIREMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Around 500 niches should be provided for burial urns. It is important that the top row is not too high, making it difficult for people to reach the top rows to place an urn. Height and accessibility is also important for visitors who wish to leave candles or flowers for loved ones.
- A design solution needs to be considered regarding falling vases and run-o resin caused by flowers and commemorative candles le by visitors. Each columbarium niche should provide permanent storage for 1-4 urns, forming a version of a family burial place.
- The designs should include landscaping plans and landscape solutions, such as paving of paths and squares, seating, etc. It is necessary to develop a visual and constructive solution for the pavement of paths and squares and prepare a greenery plan. Lighting and unobtrusive video surveillance solutions also need to be included.
- Given that these objects are not guarded, we, as practitioners, are, of course, interested in durable materials and in avoiding the use of valuable materials, such as non-ferrous metal parts that would attract thieves.
- It is recommended that the memorial plaques are made from stone or granite, or any other durable and long-lasting material.
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