Palo Pinto Cemetery
Jeff Garnett Architect

The Palo Pinto Cemetery is located in a remote, rural area on what used to be an abandoned hay field that was prone to flooding. The 12,000-sf series of structures functions as a cemetery and memorial park, focusing on the remembrance of loved ones and the well-being of visitors in need of healing. The cemetery consists of a circular sanctuary for memorial services; a series of columbarium structures with inbuilt niche spaces for cremation urns; storage; a restroom facility for visitors; and a memorial tree garden. Seating is scattered throughout the site, surrounded by native plantings and shade trees. The overall facility is constructed primarily of mass timber and native stone. Sustainable building components are a driving factor in the overall design, with emphasis on natural lighting, rainwater collection, solar energy, and green roof construction.

Jury Commentary:
“How challenging it is to make architecture that is a sacred space about loss and be able to produce an environment of respect and silence and meditative qualities. … It also feels like a tabula rasa project in the attempt to produce forms of ambiguous space as opposed to more defined spaces inside and outside and with the use of local vernacular materials. It’s an aspirational project, and I think the architecture itself has a kind of economy to it that says quite a lot at the same time about the possibility of that as a sublime sacred space.”

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