KÉDAINIAI – Despite political and religious barriers, Kédainiai is now home to the first crematorium in Lithuania.

The 775-sq-m structure is located in an industrial neighbourhood, which the architects claim was another obstacle; nearby sugar mills and fertilizer factories fill the skyline with smoky chimneys.

‘The surroundings don’t have a smell of sacred place,’ says architect Gintautas Natkevičius. ‘The unaesthetic industrial environment provoked us to create a minimalistic and even ascetic scenario. To distance itself from its surroundings, the building was designed closed like a human introvert.’

The one-level structure is made largely of concrete, with uneven windows forming a staccato pattern in the exterior walls. The chimney – which could potentially harbor negative sentiments – is hidden inside the volume.

A Japanese-style interior courtyard offers an intimate space where visitors can rest and reflect before entering the building. They then enter into a lobby with resting area which leads to the crematorium hall with special equipment and chimney.

Photos courtesy of G.Česonis