GLASNEVIN CEMETERY DUBLIN

Our proposal for the new Glasnevin Cemetery Chapel uses, as its conceptual basis, two key reference points: the work of poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939); and the proportional ordering system of the Dutch architect and monk Dom Hans van der Laan (1904-1991).

Yeats’ work explores the themes of change and permanence. In our proposal these themes are also explored through materiality and form, specifically by the inclusion of materials that weather and age in particular ways, and the way light enters the building.

Dom Hans van der Laan’s work is concerned with how our body and our eyes perceive differences in size in our environment. Certain relations between length, width, and height create particular feelings or emotional responses. Through observation and experimentation, van der Laan developed a proportioning system that he named the ‘Plastic number’. This was based on the characteristic ratios of the number, 3/4 and 1/7, which are the limits of human perception for relating one physical size to another. These proposals have been developed on this same basis.

The key themes we explore within our proposal are therefore Change, Permanence (and the poetic relationship to life and death), and Proportion.

All materials are selected for their quality and durability. These include copper, oak board paneling, board shuttered concrete, smooth concrete, and terrazzo floors. The oak boards on the interior, and board shuttered concrete externally, form a continuous ‘plinth’ which has a consistent architectonic quality. Our Chapel should feel solid, permanent and robust.
Important thresholds and openings in the Chapel are expressed in copper. It is intended that this will age over a number of years, changing from its natural orange-brown colour to a green hue, as it obtains its natural patina.

Location: Dublin, Ireland
Client: Glasnevin Trust
Value: £2million
Status: Competition