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Llwydcoed Crematorium, Llwydcoed

Description: Llwydcoed Crematorium

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 16 March 2007
Cadw Building ID: 87523

OS Grid Coordinates: 299443, 206538
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7480, -3.4568

Location: Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff CF44 0DJ

Locality: Llwydcoed
County: Rhondda Cynon Taf
Country: Wales
Postcode: CF44 0DJ

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Listing Text

Location
Between Merthyr and Hirwaun, on minor road off A465, on S slope of hillside, set in extensive landscaped grounds.

History
Work began in June 1969, and the building was completed in December 1970. Architects H M R Burgess & Partners. Llwydcoed Crematorium was the Wales winner of the RIBA Architecture Awards in 1971. The builders were Knox & Wells Ltd. The main building cost 102,503, with a further 88,859 for roads, landscaping, and auxiliary buildings. The roof is covered with Ffestiniog slates, and the type design of the inscriptions is based upon that designed for the 1969 Investiture of the Prince of Wales by Professor Dewi Prys-Thomas. In "Architects'' Journal", the architects described how the inward facing blocks reflected "the essentially introverted character of a crematorium". The RIBA Awards praised the building''s use of "indigenous materials", and its "appropriate and sensitive choice of finishes", as well as the "steep roof pitches which echo the shape of the local landscape"; also the way the building is "fully conceived in three dimensions: plan and section lock it to the ground and the sky".

As cremation became increasingly acceptable during the C20, architects rose to the challenge of this new C20 building type. In Europe, the Woodland Crematorium of Erik Gunnar Asplund, at Stockholm was influential: it used the clean forms of modernism to create a sense of spirituality in a building whilst also fulfilling demanding functional requirements. In 1968, Maxwell Fry (who designed the crematorium at Coychurch near Bridgend) lectured on the design of crematoria and the need "to make people participate more closely in the cremation service through the design of the building and its approaches". Meanwhile, church architecture was demonstrating the ability of modernism to express ritual purpose, acknowledging not only the intelligent disposition of plan, but also the ordering of light and the modelling of space. The Llwydcoed building takes up this expressionist theme, with fine handling of a complex asymmetrical plan with a subtle relationship between the interior spaces and the semi-open spaces of the courtyards, its dynamic, vertical emphasis, and skilful use of light. Great thought has been given to circulation of the users within the building. The building is very little altered since construction, although the chimney top has been modified.

Interior
Materials predominantly roughcast walls with natural stone plinths and flooring, pine boarded ceilings. Capel Mair: Glass curtain wall with door to each end gives entry to lateral corridor with waiting room block to L. Ahead, chapel has high quarter-pyramidal roof with pine boarding, lit by window high in inner corner of quarter pyramid, and by windows at eaves. A wall with relief decoration screens organ. Altar with black marble top and white marble plinth; recess with painted sandstone catafalque to R, exit doorway to L. Original seating. Capel Tydfil: Lit by window high in inner corner of quarter pyramid. A wall with geometrical reliefs screens organ; to L, altar with white marble top, and black marble plinth, and recess for painted sandstone catafalque. Exit doorway to R. Original seating. Small waiting room and vestry near entrance. Chapel of Remembrance: Lit by window high in inner corner of quarter pyramid has stone benches (painted sandstone) to contain floral tributes, and central octagonal plinth (painted sandstone) for Book of Remembrance case. Crematory with operational parts of building.

Exterior
The building is formed of four asymmetrical main blocks with steep slate roofs "set back-to back, their steep
roofs forming a fractured pyramid" (Newman). The large Capel Mair seats 120, and the smaller Capel Tydfil 50 people. The third block is the Chapel of Remembrance. The Crematory block has a large chimney. There is a lower block with waiting room and vestry, and former offices. These blocks are linked to one another by covered courtyards whose flat roofs extend to become portes-cocheres with outer ends supported on roughcast screen walls. The roofs of the courtyards have openings to light the planted areas below. Materials are predominantly white roughcast walls on natural stone plinths, and Ffestiniog slates to extensive roofs; pine boarding to ceilings of exterior canopies; chiefly natural paving also to courtyards.
Former Office and Waiting Room block with flat roof and mono-pitch roof to windows lighting waiting room.

Reason for Listing
Graded II* as an arresting complex of chapels and crematory, with refined use of simple materials, and fine
handling of a complex asymmetrical plan with a subtle relationship between the interior spaces and the semi-open spaces of the courtyards. An excellent example of expressionist modernism.

References
John Newman, The Buildings of Wales Series, 1995, p 413, p 117;
RIBA Journal Vol 78, 1971, p342;
Architects'' Journal, 19 May 1971, pp 1133-1146.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Notes:
Between Merthyr and Hirwaun, on minor road off A465, on S slope of hillside, set in extensive landscaped grounds.

Source: Cadw

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.




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