A memorial grove is a place for those who have been left behind to remember those who have departed—a refuge for those in search of consolation, reflection, and the memories of loved ones. It is an asylum, a vehicle to support the bereaved in the difficult times after the loss of a relative or friend.
When the parish of Askim, in southern Gothenburg, planned to extend its burial grounds, it was decided that the new section should be designed as a memorial grove rather than a zone for traditional earth burial. The old cemetery and the church, which dates from 1879, share the crest of a hill; the extension of the cemetery is shaped as a smooth bowl with grass terraces placed on the adjacent lower level. The focal point of the bowl—a shallow pond with still water—reflects the sky above, while a paved ceremonial terrace provides an earthbound communal setting for candles and flowers. In places the memorial grove is planted with groves of trees selected for their seasonal change: species such as crab apple, flowering cherry, and maple, graced by brilliant autumn color. The rustic granite wall that encircles the site provides a sense of enclosure and ensures a quiet atmosphere that enhances private reflection.
A memorial grove should create a place inviting and beautiful, metaphorically serving as the meeting point between the living and the dead. It should be a haven which speaks to us, a place where we recall memories of those we miss. A memorial grove serves an important mission in modern society. It should tell us that even if life is hard today, there is the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. It is a harbor not ultimately for the dead, but for those who remain.
Askim Memorial Grove, Gothenburg, Sweden
Landscape architect: Thorbjörn Andersson @ Sweco Architects
Design team: Staffan Sundström, Charlotta Löfstedt, Tobias Phersson, Peter Erséus, Malin Unger
Area: 3,500 square meters
P.O. Box 17920
SE- 118 95 Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone +46 8 522 952 00
For further information contact
Thorbjörn Andersson, Sweco Architects