Crematorium, Aarau

Krematorium, Aarau, Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

The crematorium in Aarau was given a new building positioned between large existing buildings. The skin of the new building is a glass shield without a frame that forms a calm homogeneous surface. When it grows dark the recess is transformed into an apparently projecting body of light. The competition entry won first prize.

The renovation of the crematorium in Aarau focussed exclusively on the in-between wing which had to be adapted to suit operational, technical, and legal requirements. The rooms for visitors were to be made more user-friendly.

The middle building – the joint – was extended both eastwards and westwards at ground and basement level. The intervention is subordinate to the large classical leave-taking hall and the smaller modern one. The skin of the in-between building is formed by a frameless glass shield that forms a calm homogeneous surface. During the day, the treated glass in the rear joint appears dark. But at night the illuminated recess becomes a source of light that seems to project forwards.

The glass wall, which is coated with grey paint, was given a large “typeface” designed by artist Hugo Suter that follows typographical rules in terms of edge distances and ragged margins. The basis for this typeface is a text from the Old Testament, which was abstracted into transparent rectangular surfaces. As a result, mourners cannot be observed from outside, but do not feel that they are closed in.

The project is from the oeuvre of Leuner & Zampieri (1990–2000).

Rosengartenweg 1, 5000 Aarau, Switzerland
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Task Renovation and extension to a crematorium
Job type Competition by invitation
Mention 1st prize
Deliverables Project, tender, implementation project, construction management
Time period 1997–2001
Challenge Urban design context, existing buildings
Leuner & Zampieri Architekten