Bunurong Memorial Park

ASPECT insights
Bunurong Memorial Park
ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park04   What if a cemetery could represent more than a final resting place? What if it could transcend the narrow associations of tradition and become a contemporary community park for all? Bunurong Memorial Park has achieved exactly this and it was a pleasure to work with BVN Architects and the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) to create a completely new model for what a cemetery in Australia can be.   Established in 1995, Bunurong Memorial Park was officially opened in April this year by Premier Daniel Andrews and Aboriginal elders. It comprises a land area of approximately 100 hectares and is the newest cemetery project of SMCT.   SMCT’s vision for Bunurong Memorial Park was of a contemporary and distinctly Australian site that featured beautiful landscapes and an abundance of lakes and water features. They wanted to reposition the cemetery as not only a memorial park but also a community asset with relaxing places to socialise.   It’s rare for a cemetery to look to the future but Bunurong Memorial Park has been designed to evolve over time. Those who visit the park in 20 years from now will have a different experience to those who visit today and part of our challenge was to create a space that was truly timeless.   We worked closely with BVN Architects to deliver an 11 hectare site that shifts the memorial experience to one that is connected to the Australian landscape and new community memorial trends. A central formal garden serves as a centrepiece for the new architectural designed chapels and facilities include an administration and function centre, funeral services centre, café and florist. There is a contemplative garden associated with multi-faith rooms, a series of water features and new grave and memorialisation areas for the community.   Our design has changed the threshold relationship of the site. Visitors enter via one entrance and, just like entering a gallery or classic cathedral space, they are removed from the every day and step into a whole new context with various sequences of outdoor rooms that shape the many journeys people will take throughout the site.   Bunurong Memorial Park is a highly experiential space. If you’re visiting to pay respects to a passed loved one or attending a wedding, conference or just to have coffee, there is an appropriate setting for each purpose. The landscape also provides a rich selection of possibilities for memorialising loved ones.   The plantings of the park are yet to mature but the structure of the design is clear to all who visit and, in the coming months, the newly planted Australian flower garden will begin to bloom.   The opportunity to work on a project designed to respectfully honour and celebrate life in a unique way was deeply satisfying. We’ve laid the groundwork for something new to evolve. Return to News   ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park01 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park03 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park06 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park12 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park11 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park10 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park09 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park08 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park07   ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park04 ASPECT studios_Bunurong memorial park02