Collection by Bret Robins

A Modern Mortuary in Munich


In the tenth-century district of Riem, on the far eastern edge of the city of Munich, sits the Mortuary at Munich–Riem (Friedhof-Riem). Designed by architects Andreas Meck and Stephan Koppel, the complex is comprised of unassuming buildings that conjure a decidedly modern last resting place.

From afar, the Mortuary at Munich-Riem seems foreboding, suggesting the standing remnants of a bygone communist design.
The mortuary, commissioned in 1996 and completed in late 2000, lies in stark contrast to the old, archetypal cemetery...
Meck and Koppel designed the burial route to lead from the mortuary through the covered forecourt adjoining the pool,...
A single ‘tree of life’ is planted in the central courtyard, which faces the viewing room.
The viewing room has a surprisingly comforting and welcoming presence.
The courtyard is topped on one side with a grand concrete canopy pierced by a skylight.
Another view of the central courtyard with the waiting room in the distance.
The architects conceived the buildings as “solid bodies emerging from the...
The waiting room sits in front of the large cross tower in the background.
A massive oak door pivots to the waiting room, which features a floor-to-ceiling panel of glass.
The entrance to the wateraum, or waiting room.
A constantly moving shaft of natural light that edges along an oak bench is a defining element in the room.
Protected by a natural stone roof, the mortuary’s upper half comprises a smooth oak cube contrasted with the quarried...
Cor-Ten steel doors open to the gravel path that meanders through a flowering meadow to the cemetery.
The layout of the site appears as a free form drawing in concrete.
The cemetery is set within a lush meadow and groves of indigenous birch and pine, oak and cherry.
The towering sculpture of natural, untreated wood rises far above the pathway.
A series of Cor-Ten gates mark the route to the burial sites, which are reached via the stacked-stone steps.
The cemetery, with its verdant landscape and monumental sculpture, can easily be confused with a public park.

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