ABOUT THIS BOOK
PUBLICATION DATE: October 1, 2020
Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria
By (author) Hilary Grainger
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.
Hilary J. Grainger is Professor of Architectural History at University of the Arts London, specialising in late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture and design; she has published widely in these areas. Her book The Architecture of Sir Ernest George (2011) was shortlisted for the Alice Davies Hitchcock Memorial Medal by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and her book Death Redesigned: British Crematoria, History, Architecture and Landscape (2006) was commended by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.