Concept
FUNERAL HALL
Eitz Chaim
The proposed new funeral hall for Gan Shalom is sited to take mourners through a sequence that places them on a centre axis with a giant California Oak. The tree is highly significant in Judaism as a symbol of faith, familial relationships, community rootedness, and the continuance of life. With this in mind, the backdrop to the funeral ritual will provide both a symbolic and aesthetic reaffirmation of the central tenets of our people.
Mayim
Before entering the hall, mourners will encounter a ceremonial washing pavilion and small fountain. Mayim, the giver of life; a precious life-force for all living things.
Adama
Landscaped berms will surround the complex. These will be planted with native flora and anchored by large boulders, some of which are polished to provide for seating. These are miniature versions of the beautiful hilly setting of Gan Shalom and also reference Adama (land, ground, soil), which is both the giver of life and the place where we honor our ancestors.
Chomer
The materials of the hall will be constructed from plank-formed concrete, with wooden ceilings and screening to refer to the physical and conceptual connection to the tree and the earth. Chomer (material) refers to the physical realities of the tangible as a housing for the metaphysical.
Or
The hall uses light to bring compassion to the space and to refer to the presence of spirit in the ritual. Above the coffin-dais, a double-height space will allow for a clerestory of southern light to bathe the ceremony in a warm glow (Or) while the northern view to the tree will be framed by a curtain wall of glass. The eternal light, like Mayim, Adama and Chomer, is an essential giver of life and illumination of truth.
 
ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
The existing portable structure that houses the current administration, meeting and washroom facilities is proposed to be shrouded in a screen of wood in order to connect it to the materials in the new funeral hall and provide a masking function. In a future phase, a new building can be built that directly connects to the new funeral hall, along the western side of the complex. The screening can be re-used at that point for finishes inside the new building.
 
Title
A Funeral Hall for Gan Shalom Cemetery
Location
Briones, CA
Client
Gan Shalom Cemetery
Completed
In development
Studio Team
Bill Pechet, Lőrinc Vass
Images
Lőrinc Vass, Bill Pechet