Work has begun on the redesign of Bushey cemetery, with new images and blueprints revealing the architectural concepts behind the project, writes Deborah Cicurel.

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A blueprint for the new biodegradable Bushey cemetery

The final designs for the United Synagogue burial site have been unveiled by Shoreditch-based architecture studio Waugh Thistleton, with newly-released images providing an insight into what the finished product will look like.

The cemetery’s main ceremonial space is being created from rammed earth, an ancient and sustainable building technique that uses a natural, locally-sourced raw material, which allows for a strong and durable structure.

Rammed earth is simple to construct and, owing to its thermal qualities, will be able to store heat in the cold and stay cool in the summer.

“This is a very special building,” said Andrew Waugh, director at Waugh Thistleton. “We believe the rammed earth technique enhances the spiritual nature of the religious building, as the materials are biodegradable, and will one day return to the earth from which they came.”

The plans also include two service buildings to be created with a timber structure and finish, as well as swales, weirs and ponds. The firm said that the landscape surrounding the religious buildings “will be designed as an ecological response to the site’s Green Belt location”.

Peter Zinkin, chairman of the US Property Committee, said: “We are excited about this development, which promises to deliver us a modern cemetery, which should be aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly.”

The development originally received planning approval from Hertsmere Council in 2013 and is being created in collaboration with engineers Elliott Wood.

It is scheduled for completion in 2017.