BACA Architects



Location: Milton Keynes, UK.   Scale: 1.85 Ha   Status: Ongoing   Construction value: £30M


Building of Remembrance

A columbarium is a living and changing spiritual memorial building and landscape that contains spaces for users to visit and remember their family members  and loved ones and a chapel space to celebrate the memory of those departed but not forgotten.


5 ZONES - 100,000 NICHES - BREEAM EXCELLENT - 1.85 ha


The Columbarium will answer the question asked by so many “how shall we remember our loved ones after cremation?” and assist in alleviating pressure on the ever growing expense and emotional upheaval by providing a beautiful environmen tduring that most difficult time of bereavement”


The Niches

The Columbarium is designed around niches. A niche houses the storage of cinerary urns containing the cremated remains of the deceased and other memorabilia. The niches are typically small boxes arranged in bays. The columbarium will offer a range of different style niches in five distinct mood areas.



A key driver for the scheme is for visitors to feel they are among a separate world landscape different from their normal lives. The building will be an escape from everyday life and closely in touch with nature.


A visit to the columbarium is a journey of departure from daily life across a sparkling reflecting pool. The journey proceeds through the building and onto the landscaped roof gardens with chapel spaces hidden among the landscape.


Crossing the river

Saying goodbye to loved ones as you release their ashes into the water is an emotionally moving experience. As an alternative to visiting Varanasi, or other similar locations around the world we have created flowing water which will allow ashes to be ceremonially released into the waters crossing the “river” into the afterlife.


Stepped gardens on the roofs of the columbarium provide spaces for contemplation, reflection within nature and views over the wider landscape. They also form places for larger ceremonies and places to walk and enjoy the surroundings.



The building is a single sculptural form created from the harmonious arrangement of interlocking circles. The circle has significance to many religions and represents unity, wholeness and infinity. The columbarium as a multi-faith space is very much a space of unity and wholeness and as a space for the earthly remains of departed souls could be seen as a place of infinite memory.



“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”  


T.S.Eliot, 'The Four Quartets'

Baca Architects is led by Richard Coutts.  We are specialised in architecture, urban planning and research related to living, working and recreation on water.



T:          (+44) 020 7397 5620 


A:          199 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PN


Royal Institute of British Architects
British Chambers of Commerce
Urban Design Group


Baca Architects
Baca Architects