Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: Harmer Architecture's Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum

Laurence DragomirJune 27, 20180 min read

In today's instalment of the Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards series, shines the torch on one of the more unique buildings featured in this year's shortlist of entries, with the winners announced at the awards dinner on 29 June 2018.

Harmer Architecture's Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum for client Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) represents a prime example of a piece of public architecture that engages with a wide audience in fulfilling their role, while providing a service to a specific community.

The mausoleum creates a dialogue between architecture, landscape and the role of memorial in the form of a striking circular structure comprising eight separate blocks that are arranged around a central landscaped courtyard providing above ground burial for 672 people.

The Victorian Chapter of the AIA cites the mausoleum as an example of the diverse and innovative contemporary design interventions that Victoria has to offer, in particular, the approach to public architecture and its role.

Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: Harmer Architecture's Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum
Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum. Image: Jonathon Hadiprawira

GMCT sought a design which offered longevity while reflecting the overarching purpose of the mausoleum. Harmer Architecture responded to this desire via a design which provides longevity to visitors who will continue to visit their loved ones.

The architecture which incorporates the crypts into the design via the circular shape and internal and external landscaping provides people with a variety of options when they are purchasing, claim the architects.

What they say...

As a profession it’s important we continue to challenge the norm, and allow architectural interventions to evolve and create new cultural relationships and understandings.

Architecture is something that should be enjoyed and add value to the public realm, and the mausoleum does just that. The mausoleum acts as a pavilion, creating a welcoming and open space that families can visit and honour the passing of a relative, whilst allowing for life to be celebrated and remembered in a sensitive and meaningful way.

- Amy Muir,Victorian Chapter President

This is a logical extension of the other types of work we do which involves public spaces. It’s an active public space that people visit, it isn’t just about death.

There is a large community of Italian heritage who live in Melbourne’s North, many of whom want significant memorials such as community mausoleums. Many people in the local community visit their deceased relatives regularly and for long after they have gone.

It’s all about the landscape and giving people choice by facing every direction of the compass. It becomes more of a pavilion than a building.

- Philip Harmer,  Managing Director of Harmer Architecture

Design ambitions for our Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum was to create a building that was classic and enduring, yet bold and innovative. We wanted to provide families with a beautiful and high quality environment – a fitting tribute and final resting place for loved ones.

- Jacqui Weatherill, CEO of The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT)

Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: Harmer Architecture's Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum
Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum. Image: Trevor Mein

Lead Image: Trevor Mein 

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.
Harmer Architecture
Victorian Architecture Awards 2018
Atrium of Holy Angels Mausoleum
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