The South Haven Centre for Remembrance is a new non-denominational facility for the City of Edmonton. The facility reflects the fundamental civic values of the local Edmonton community and meets the client’s escalating operational needs. The primary objective was to design a place for rest and contemplation while capturing the modulating light patterns of the seasons.

Project Essentials

  • LocationEdmonton, AB
  • ClientCity of Edmonton
  • ArchitectSHAPE Architecture with PECHET Studio and Group 2 Architects
  • Size7,000 ft² (650 m²)
  • BudgetC$4.4 million

The building itself has a minimum height – its low profile reduces its influence on the landscape, while glazed facades seek to create a close connection between the architecture and the expansive prairie backdrop. This 7,000 square foot structure comprises offices, family rooms, meeting rooms, and a field-services yard and garage where workers mix concrete, set gravestones and repair damaged plaques. Fast + Epp provided a timber and steel-framed structure on the 21-acre site to accommodate the complex project geometry and the restricted budget for the centre.

The design features a 13-metre tall tower that emerges from the prairie landscape and allows filtered light from an upper clerestory to illuminate the meeting room below. In order to maximize the light from the clerestory, the structure depth was minimized with a slender steel frame infilled with timber. The attached works yard steel and timber structure was carefully integrated into the building profile and partially submerges into the landscape, hiding the functioning field services yard and equipment.

From the interior, careful placement of the windows frame calming views to the surrounding landscape.  On the exterior, the façade of black steel panels and a black charred (shou sugi ban accoya) timber cladding dramatically stands out from the surrounding prairie, acting as a beacon for visitors to the site.