Bigelow Chapel Revitalization at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery by William Rawn Associates
The recent expansion and revitalization of Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Bigelow Chapel, designed by architects William Rawn Associates with landscape by Halvorson, was featured in Architectural Record. This new U-shaped glass addition houses a new event space that provides a stunning panoramic view of the cemetery and overlooks the renewed Asa Gray Garden designed by Halvorson.
In addressing the gnarly question of how to add onto a building in a cemetery that is a historic landmark, architects William Rawn Associates of Boston came up with a well-known modernist, but still timeless, answer: glass. Bigelow Chapel, an early 19th-century Gothic Revival structure in Mount Auburn Cemetery, on the edge of Cambridge, Massachusetts, needed an extension to accommodate memorial services, weddings, receptions, meetings, and a crematory. But because it is perched on a small plot on the top of a hill overlooking the 175-acre landscaped garden and burial grounds, created in 1831, any new construction threatened to obscure its picturesque architecture, which is distinguished by its stolid Quincy-granite walls and minaret-like spires.