Lakewood Garden Mausoleum
2008-2012, built
Minneapolis, Minnesota

With Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA), Minneapolis
Project Designer, Predesign-Construction

Joan Soranno, FAIA, design Principal, and John Cook, FAIA, project Architect

Located in one of the country’s most important 19th-century landscapes, the new Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery reinterprets an ancient typology in terms of 21st century attitudes toward death and mourning, while minimizing its visual impact on the historic landscape it occupies.

Nestled in the side of a pre-existing hillside and virtually invisible from the majority of the cemetery, a series of underground catacombs orient themselves alternately to the surrounding landscape (horizontal) and to the sky (vertical). A single monumental gesture—earthen mound, portal, skylight—signifies the presence of each interment chamber and relates this communal building to the formal gesture of the individual family mausolea that surround it.

Above, a small rectangular building provides street level access to the underground vaults and houses the more public reception and orientation functions of the cemetery, including a small committal chapel. In each space, rhythmic apertures gesture to movement, the transition between the [public] world of the living and the [solitary] experience of the bereaved. The dark, forbidding granite forms of the mausoleum are carved away at each opening, revealing the poché of the mausoleum as a heavily figured white marble faïence, recalling the mosaics in the adjacent landmark neo-Byzantine Lakewood Memorial Chapel. 

Institute Honor Award for Architecture, AIA National, 2014
Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (nominated), 2014
Architizer A+ Award, 2013
ASLA Award of Excellence, 2013
IIDA Best of Competition Award, 2013
Chicago Athenaeum Honor Award, 2013
Honor Award, AIA Minnesota, 2012
Architect Magazine Annual Design Review, 2012
AIA/IFRAA Honor Award, Unbuilt Category, 2010

Architect Magazine, Cover, October 2012, Additional Feature, October 2014
Landscape Architecture, April 2014
Dezeen, January 2014 (online)
C3, May 2013
Architektur, Innenarchitektur, Technischer Ausbau, 5.2013
ArchDaily, February 2013 (online)
Interior Design, October 2012

Photos © Paul Crosby