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All photographs & project details courtesy to Architects.
Ashwinikumar Crematorium
at Surat


Project Details
Client: Ashwinikumar
Architect: Matharoo Associates

A severe flood in the river Tapi, resulting in a catastrophic epidemic in 1994, which many identified as the dreaded plague, followed a violent spate of communal riots in 1993. Severely criticized for its filth and squalor, the city finally woke up to its conditions. A national competition was organized for a building, which was to house five gas-fired furnaces.
The first design gesture was to remove all existing structures and create a large clearing and then elevating the isolated plane above the adjoining river thus making the site introvert, looking out only in the direction of the river.
The plan is an outcome of a detailed study of the Hindu rituals and their architectural interpretations, which would allow for the rituals laid down by the scriptures.
According to it the body is carried on a wooden frame by the close male relatives, but in the modem day it is transported by vans hence to recreate the experience the body is carried in a procession from the entrance to the furnace chambers.
The body is then cleansed to pacify the remaining desires of the personality this is done at a juncture of the entrance route and the passage to crematorium chambers, this node is marked by an existing tree which acts as a pivot for the axis to turn around, the procession then moves to a passage that leads to the five gas powered furnaces that are partly shielded by curved walls to allow mourners a degree of privacy.
A pavilion connects the chambers to the open river which is a place for contemplation and retrospection, in this particular location the chambers achieve a position where the panchmahabhut, the five essential elements that make up the Hindu universe via, earth; high ground, sky' light on the wall, fire; furnace, water; the river and air; the breeze, all come together.
The M/s. Matharoo Associates had appointed M/s. Harshad B. Jhaveri as an services consultants.
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