It may not have beaten the £1billion Bloomberg offices to win the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize for Best Building, but the redesigned Jewish cemetery in Bushey impressed the judges nevertheless.
United Synagogue’s Bushey New Cemetery was one of five runners-up in the annual awards given out by the Royal Institute of British Architects, with Michael Bloomberg’s sensational new European HQ pipping them after a ten-year project.
The cemetery uses natural features and landscaping, with water features and plant life surrounding state-of-the-art prayer halls that use ‘rammed earth’ walls – highly compressed natural material clad in timber – that help the halls store heat in the cold and stay cool in the summer.
“No Jewish community building has ever been nominated, never mind a cemetery,” said Michael Goldstein, president of the United Synagogue.
“This project was commissioned in order to preserve one of the most basic tenets of Judaism which includes maintaining cemeteries in perpetuity, whilst creating a fitting resting place where family and friends can have a meaningful and fitting experience.”
He paid tribute to architects and designers at Waugh Thistleton, saying: “We have together produced just this experience and we congratulate them, as we do our engineers Elliott Wood and landscape architects J & L Gibbons. They were all a pleasure to work with.”