Ever since the 1915 competition, Asplund and Lewerentz had been planning a spacious chapel crematorium for Woodlands. But when final approval came in 1935 Gunnar Asplund was given sole responsibility.
The Woodland Crematorium
The Woodland Crematorium was opened in 1940 and the first cremation performed shortly after. The crematory section was renovated in the 1970s and given a new look. The last cremation there was in 2015 before the move to the New Crematorium. On the books it was No. 285,944.
The New Crematorium
After more than 60 years, the Woodland Crematorium needed a proper update. In 2009 the Cemeteries Administration asked five architect practices to compete. Two were Swedish — Johan Celsing and White Arkitekter. The Bjarke Ingels Group was from Denmark, Tadao Ando Arch from Japan, and Caruso St John from Great Britain.
The winning proposal was av Johan Celsing’s ‘A Stone in the Forest’ developed with Müller Illien Landschaftarchitekten. The jury found that it “best comprehended the unity of the Woodlands Cemetery, with a sensitive ear to the site. The project adds even more character to the unified experience of Woodlands Cemetery. ‘A Stone in the Forest’ creates a passage in both an interior and exterior landscape.”
Construction began in 2011 with inauguration in 2014. On the way, in 2013, it was awarded the Kasper Sahlin Prize for architecture. Once the sophisticated technology was fully mastered, the New Crematorium started operating in 2015.
Today, more people are cremated than buried, despite a recent increase in interments. In Sweden in 2019, 83% of funerals were cremations and in Stockholm 89%. The figures are among the highest in Europe.
The Woodland Cemetery 100 years
Skogskyrkogården, The Woodland Cemetery, celebrates its 100th anniversary with a new outdoor exhibition. September 19—November 1, 2020. Free admission.