source:Polygoon Hollands Nieuws – 6th March 1948
producer: Willy Mullens van Haghe Film
The crematorium exists of a small chapel directly joined with a cremation room. The crematorium was recently upgraded by the architectural company still wearing Henning Larsen’s name. The upgrade existed of adding a separate installation room behind the original building which is connected under ground. Also a mostly glass waitingroom was added in front of the entrance.
Even though it is very small, the historic atmosphere and perfection in all details provide a perfect ceremonial space. As in the Norwegian Haslum you see here that a good ceremonial space promotes its own use.
Besides the wealth of information we received, we were genuinely impressed by the building itself. It is not a very large building but still it is very spiritual and open to the exterior. People visiting the grounds around the crematorium could in theory see what is happening inside.
Everything here is breathing a respectful atmosphere, in perfect harmony with the work and the organisation itself.
Specially the rich spatial quality of the rooms in this relatively small crematorium and the attention for detail in the interior were great.
Here we were received by landscape architect Naomi Louise Wilde of the Bærum kommune. She provided us with insightful information and a very interesting view.
This crematorium is special in many ways. In contrast to many other older crematoria it was technically upgraded to keep functioning as a crematorium, in part thanks to its special architectural status. Also it hosts the ceremonies for most of the cremations taking place at the facility, for Norway this is very exceptional.
It seems that making ceremonial spaces together with the technical crematorium back in the sixties, now gives way to opportunities. We are curious what the future will hold for this jewel.
What was very interesting at Alfaset was the unique way the building interacts with its surroundings. The new building protects the old chapel from the rumour of the street while at the same time it does not dominate the chapel or the terrain at all. If you combine this with a very humane and open approach it seems the Alfaset crematorium is a perfect fit.
The crematorium is very beautiful inside and out but most strikingly it proved to be a very pleasant place to work. Bispebjerg is light, open and has a real humane quality while at the same time creating a spiritual and respectful atmosphere. This all the more interesting since in Denmark it is not very common for the deceased’s loved ones to attend the actual technical cremation.
At the time of our visit DFW Europe was working on a rebuild of the oven installations. The four ovens, who were originally built as pairs sharing their ‘backside’, will be rebuild as separate units. This was also interesting, the downside was that it made the exterior photography a little tricky.
Mister Olsen was very helpful and gave us a real insight in the cremation business and how the crematoria in Denmark are functioning. Besides this invaluable information he had a perfect example of crematorium architecture to show us around in. Needless to say this is a very inspiring building.
Head of design from Henning Larsen, Peer Jeppesen was also present. He told us how the crematorium was conceived from an architectural point of view. This gave us a great perspective of the design. At the same time he told us about the crematorium in Aarhus which was designed by the founding father of his office and we would visit two weeks later.
After this we will continue our journey and go to Oslo’s Alfaset. Leaving Oslo we will travel along the east coast of Norway and visit two more crematoria along the way: Haslum and Vestfold.
After a little detour to catch some trout in the fjords we will be returning to Denmark by ferry. Here we will finish our journey on the peninsula Jutland, after a visit to the last crematorium of our trip in Aarhus.