Text description provided by the architects.
The new South Haven Centre for Remembrance creates a new non-denominational landmark destination for the City of Edmonton. The design features a symbolic twelve-meter tower which emerges from the prairie landscape which makes reference to the existing grave sites, monuments, columbaria and the latent memory that they embody. The new facility conceives to memorialize moments in time and spatially capture the quality of the seasons through the interplay of light, shadow and darkness.
The color and overall character of the building considers the relationship of modulating light patterns within the building interior throughout the seasons as well as the long crisp winter shadows that are cast from the building edges. The combination of black hot rolled steel panels and a black charred (shou sugi-ban accoya) skin act as a counterpoint to the snowy winter conditions and the changing relationship of the building in the landscape throughout the year.
The main entrance sequence provides a compressed moment of darkness prior to opening the oversized steel pivot doors which reveal the light luminous interior space and the framed view of the downtown skyline viewed across the winter-garden courtyard. The tower is characterized by a large triangular clerestory which allows diffuse north light to enter the meeting rooms.
The form and development of the tower evolved through multiple iterations to optimize the quality of light and more specifically; how light and shadow casts within the tower on the summer solstice. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) and the reverence of light and shadow within the tower are celebrated on this annual datum..
South Haven Centre for Remembrance Gallery