- Project Name
- Mount Auburn Cemetery Bigelow Chapel and New Crematory
- William Rawn Associates
- Mount Auburn Cemetery
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- Shared by
- Andrea Timpano
- Project Status
This project was selected as a winner in AIA's 2023 Interior Architecture Awards.
Built in 1845, Bigelow Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., was one of the first crematories in New England. Although it had become mostly inoperable in recent years due to poor maintenance and a dearth of accessibility features, a renovation and a new, glass-walled addition from Boston-based William Rawn Associates have reinvigorated the historical space.
When it came to updating the chapel, incorporating ADA-friendly touches was a top priority. The team lowered a raised altar, making it easier to access, and also integrated lighting into ceiling arches for greater visibility.
As for the addition, which was designed with the burial rites of the area’s Hindu and Muslim communities in mind, the interior flow is inspired by the views of the cemetery grounds that surround it. The wood-and-glass material palette is simple to support its multifunctional nature: Apart from cremation ceremonies, activities held in this new, sunlight-filled pavilion include meditation and yoga practice.
Project: Mount Auburn Cemetery Bigelow Chapel and New Crematory, Cambridge, Mass.
Owner: Mount Auburn Cemetery
Architect: William Rawn Associates, Boston
Engineer – Structural: LeMessurier Consultants
Engineer – MEP/FP/Civil/AV/IT: Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering, P.C.
Engineer – Geotechnical: Haley & Aldrich
Engineer – Environmental: Amec Foster Wheeler
General Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction
Owner’s Project Manager: CSL Consulting
Landscape Architect: Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio (as Halvorson Design Partnership)
Lighting: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
Specifications: Kalin Associates, Inc.
Code Consultants: Sullivan Code Group
ADA Consultants: Kessler McGuinness and Associates
Envelope Consultant: Building Envelope Technologies
Preservation Architects for Rose Window Restoration: McGinley Kalsow & Associates, Inc.
Rose Window Restoration: Serpentino Stained Glass Studio
This article first appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of ARCHITECT.