Two farewell rooms in white lacquered steel
The municipality of Houthalen wanted to build a place of farewell on each of the two Houthalen-Helchteren cemeteries. The winning design is pared right back to the essentials: a roof, columns and two walls, all made of steel and finished with two-component paint. Both of the farewell rooms are built on a concrete surface, and the chapel itself is a simple arrangement of a few slender columns, a roof and two walls in white painted steel. The curved shapes in the walls provide the building as a whole with rigidity, but also shift the roof in relation to the walls, creating openings that give the sunlight free rein to dapple the rounded walls with an ever-changing interplay of shadow drawings. The choice of steel makes the construction extra slender and gives it a delicacy that – together with the white colour – lends a sense of lightness that contrasts with the heavy emotion of saying goodbye.