The Woods Columbaria occupies a stand of conifers in Capilano View Cemetery, located in West Vancouver, Canada. The stone walls, mossy floor and vaults are capped by concrete roofs which reference funerary beds, little houses or the tilting gestures of birds’ wings. The roofs and courtyards are mostly oriented to the centre of the site where a first growth tree trunk forms the epicentre of the ensemble. A fallen tree, now ringed by a second generation of its sons and daughters, forms the empty space in the grove — a funeral of sorts.

The project was designed to create a peaceful setting for mourning and contemplation. Various water pools catch rainwater and reflect the points of sky through the trees. The architecture of the elements are meant to be familiar to the residents of West Vancouver, a place where resting under a canopy next to a stream is still a reality. The first phase of the project (500 niches) was completed in 1994. Since that time, periodic additions of family columbaria and the growth of vegetation has begun to shroud and hush the site.

Title
Woods Columbaria 1
Location
West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Client
District of West Vancouver
Completed
1993
Project Team
Bill Pechet, Pearl Bellesen
Construction
District of West Vancouver, Brunato Rock Work, Jay Gower-Taylor
Images
Bill Pechet