Restoration of the Woodland Crematorium

Stenbyggnader bland träd och gräsfält med gångvägar.
Photo: Ingrid Johansson

The Woodland Crematorium was completed in 1940. Intense care was given to both the entirety and the detail, equally to artisanship and art. But operation and functions have since changed, and 80 years’ wear and tear have left their mark. The crematorium needs a major restoration.

The parts have individual character but form a unity that contributes to the building’s harmony. The details and unity both have considerable architectural and conservational value. Asplund’s architecture is unique and vital to preserve — and to display in restoration. Status as a World Heritage site also entails specific demands and since cremations in the building ended in 2015, the environmental regulations are new.

The Cemeteries Administration has commissioned HOSARK Architects to restore and extend the structure. Keeping to Asplund's vision, each addition must be independent but integrated in the building’s harmony. Work on the appearance and layout is underway and estimated completion is in the mid-2020s.

Forgotten Rooms

At the time the crematorium opened, the customs for viewing and burial were different and over the years, rooms have been put to different uses or emptied. Parts of the building were comprehensively renovated in the 1970s under supervision of Hans Asplund, Gunnar’s son.

The crematory section has been emptied and new functions will fill the space. The furnace room will regain its original proportions once the floor is lowered and room dividers are installed to replace the furnaces.

The original urn delivery room with reception and lobby is still there but no longer in use.

The autopsy room and doctor’s office have long been disused and abandoned.


Asplund’s sensitive command of daylight use can be seen in the chapel and public areas but is partly obscured in the back rooms. The plan is to restore some of the lighting design and restore and exchange the lanterns.

Here is where the plants and flowers were taken care of. The original roof was flat and glass-tiled to let in daylight. It was replaced with a sealed aluminium roof in the 1970s. But glass tiles in the floor bring light to the committal room underneath. Glass tiling and skylights will recreate something of the the flower room’s character.

Project Manager: Jakob Strömholm. Chief Architect: Lars Olson. Assistant Architect: Filippa Lagerblad
Contributing Architects: Måns Björnskär, Anna Elmqvist, Helena Heymowska, Emma Mierse, Anna Ulfsdotter

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.