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No. 12299

Beechwood National Memorial Centre

A Multi-Faith Memorial Centre For All
Photo: Gordon King
Institutional Wood Design Award <$10M, 2008
Wood Works!
In 2001, Beechwood became the home of the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces. The National Memorial Centre was opened on April 7, 2008 as a multi-faith memorial centre to serve the needs of all those who came to pay their respects.
Photo: Gordon King
The design attempts to respond to established traditions and symbolism, while not privileging one faith over another.
The site rests on a ledge of rock of the same geological formation and at the same elevation as Parliament Hill, which is seen in the distance. The design seeks to contrast the groundedness of the permanence of its environment, juxtaposed with the transience of nature and the seasons.
Photo: Gordon King
Within the context of Beechwood’s 160 acres of stunning landscaping and picturesque rural cemetery roots, the design derives inspiration from the geometry of nature and the nature of geometry meanings for different faiths.
Photo: Gordon King
Photo: Gordon King
For the circular memorial hall, expressions of branching trees and upswept arms support a central oculus. The light entering from above marks the passage of time as it moves over the interior textures and finishes of stepped wood panels, skeletal framing and rough stone walls.
This complex and expressive nine-sided space is structured around six sets of glulam arches supporting a central arched dome and oculus. A sacred rock, selected from the grounds of Beechwood, anchors the space and provides a focal point.
Photo: Gordon King
Wood was used throughout the design, both for structural and aesthetic purposes. The project received a number of awards, including the Wood Council Award for Best Building under $10M.
Architect: RMA+SH architects
Structural: Cunliffe & Associates Inc.
Mechanical & Electrical: Genivar Inc. (now WSP Global Inc.)
Pre-Design Studies, Site Plan, Schematic Design, Design Development, BIM Modeling, Construction Drawings, Construction Administration