Graceland Cemetery Columbarium
Trustees of Graceland Cemetery, Eifler & Associates Architects
Historic Graceland Cemetery, in the Lakeview neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, has very little land left in its inventory for sale. The trustees of the cemetery sought to increase the number of cremations along with a new approach to the interment of cremated remains, which typically have a higher density than traditional burials. Wolff Associates, the predecessor firm of Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc., worked with Eifler & Associates Architects, Ltd. to develop a plan for a series of “garden rooms” defined by low, rusticated walls of red granite. This material matches the stone on the adjacent historic 1880s chapel. Urns with cremated remains are interred at the base of the wall, and a small memorial plaque is fastened to the stone wall immediately adjacent to the interment. The center of the columbarium is defined by a low pool with a small water jet, the sound of which creates a quiet, meditative feeling in the area. The floor of the garden rooms is a bluegrass lawn, and the areas behind the walls are planted with a combination of ornamental trees, flowering and evergreen shrubs, groundcovers, and perennial flowers. The perimeter of the new columbarium also is planted with new oak and linden trees.
The $150,000 first phase was completed in 1995. Graceland Cemetery received an Illinois Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award in 2001.