A memorial grove is a place for those who were left behind. It is a refuge to visit in search for consolation, reflection and memory of beloved ones that passed away. It is an asylum for support in hard times after the loss of a friend, a dad, a sister, or even a child.
When the parish in Askim, southern Gothenburg, planned to extend their burial grounds, it was decided that the new section should be designed as a memorial grove and not as a traditional coffin cemetery. The church from 1879 sits on top of Ahill where also the old cemetery is laid out. The hill has a distinct border to the north formed by an old retaining wall in granite, about 5 meters high. At the lower level is an area which was formerly not specifically used. Ithas the shape of a basin and used to be a shallow ravine with a brook.The ground was moist and the area was filled with dense shrubbery.
In the project, the vegetation was cleared out and the landform made into a regular bowl. A site with new potential qualities appeared. Along the sloping sides, grass terraces were introduced to enhance a formal character and to create flat ground for the ashes. These are put anonymously under the turf. A paved terrace with seating facing south points in direction to the church, supplying a visual contact with the upper level. The back wall of the terrace is detailed with stone flags of limestone for name plaquettes of the deceased ones and is the commune setting also for candles and flowers. The focal point of the bowl is a shallow pond with a still water surface, creating a reflection of the sky above. The memorial grove is in parts planted with clumps of trees, selected for their seasonal change, such as crab apple, cherries and autumn-colored acers. The site is encircled with a rustic granite wall, creating a sense of enclosure to permit a quiet atmosphere enhancing individual reflection.
The ambition for a memorial grove should be to create a place enough inviting and beautiful so that it metaphorically works as a meeting point between the living and the dead. It should be a haven which speaks to us and where we can recall memories of the ones we miss. A memorial grove is an important refuge in modern society. It should transmit to us that even if life is hard today, there is a possibility of a brighter future. It is a harbor not ultimately for the dead, but for those who were left behind.
设计团队：Staffan Sundstróm、Malin Unger、Charlotta Lófstedt、Tobias Phersson、Peter Erseus。
Project: Askim Memorial Grove
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Landscape architect: Thorbjörn Andersson with Sweco Architects
Design team: Staffan Sundström, Malin Unger, Charlotta Löfstedt, Tobias Phersson, Peter Erseus.
Area: 3500 sqm
Photos by Åke E:sonLindman