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Designs on Death

The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria

by Hilary Grainger


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ISBN: 9781910900307
Published: 01 Oct 2020
Format: Hardback
Extent: 352
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: John Donald
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About the Book

Despite seven out of ten people in Scotland choosing cremation, in many ways crematoria are ‘invisible’ buildings, visited only by necessity, and they have not received the attention they deserve. Crematoria present a real challenge for architects. They are paradoxical buildings: religious and secular, functional and symbolic, required to satisfy the practical and emotional needs of all faiths and none.

This book provides architectural ‘biographies’ of Scotland’s thirty-one crematoria, explaining their increasing relevance in contemporary Scottish society and pointing to Scotland’s distinctive contribution to the progress of cremation and the architecture of crematoria. Many leading architects and craftsmen, including Sir Robert Lorimer and Sir Basil Spence, produced designs of great architectural merit, and Scottish local authorities led the way in designing some of the most progressive crematoria in the UK. These singular, often contested buildings, many in magnificent natural landscape settings, reveal a great deal about the complex, changing and distinctive attitudes to death and funeral rituals in Scotland.

The Author

Hilary Grainger

Hilary Grainger is a Dean and Professor of Architectural History at the University of the Arts, London, and Chair of the Victorian Society.