The Sanctuary, Waikumete Cemetery

PCLA prepared concepts and detail design to assist Council in restoring the disturbed stillborn children’s area in Waikumete cemetery included creating a welcoming space for families to visit.  A place to remember and a fitting tribute to the children who lie there.  Visitors are encouraged to follow a short path with a stream mosaic leading to an intimate sitting space.  Separated from the road by a curved retaining wall which is faced with a shrine like intricate mosaic façade.  This curving artwork is a place of discovery and intrigue where a myriad of artefacts can be explored.  Children delight in the texture and interest, marvel at the combination of whimsical motifs in the mosaic.  It provides focus for visitors with a gentle off-white colour mosaic with its own delicate narrative.

The mosaic incorporates some salvage memorabilia and fragments with an imaginative combination of abstract and figurative artefacts.  The curving mosaic unfolds to visitors along the path and is invisible from the road.  Low plantings and shade trees soften the experience and still enable distant views through the cemetery.  The mosaic artist, Joy Bell, has made a wonderful feature that has a playful mood but also a well-orchestrated feel that is comforting and tactile.  The layout responds to an awkward, narrow space, change in level and offers a fitting family sanctuary.