Halvorson Provides Inspired Design for Garden Cemetery
Makom Shalom (Place of Peace) is inspired by the natural landforms that make West Laurel Hill Cemetery memorable. Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio created a contemporary, contemplative garden cemetery that respects Jewish funeral customs while integrating seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.
Situated at a promontory near the main entrance, Makom Shalom features a series of terraced burial areas that gradually step down the slope, allowing each to nestle into the topography. The 450-foot-long, 8’ tall promontory masonry wall and curvilinear retaining walls embrace the existing topography, creating an upper level burial area with an overlook garden that offers a restful, contemplative space for visitors.
A vegetative screen along Belmont Avenue follows the gentle curve of the lower walls, road, walking paths, and burial layout to establish a visually unified design. Lawn paths combined with lavish planting materials preserve the openness of the existing landscape while offering a soothing, garden experience for those visiting loved ones.
Green infrastructure filters storm runoff into underground basins at the bottom of the slope. The design team selected a palette of planting materials that were native to the Eastern Pennsylvania region as well as those with biblical significance related to Jewish culture.