Rose Hills Memorial Park
Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California encompasses 1,500 acres and is the largest cemetery in the United States. Our firm was commissioned to design a new 3,000 crypt mausoleum complex located in a developing one hundred acre precinct within the park. The site is positioned at the head of a planned four acre lake that sits within a man-made valley know as Sycamore Valley. The valley’s namesake, Sycamore Canyon, a component of the Puente Hills/Sierra Nevada watershed, extends west towards the Los Angeles basin and is a protected wildlife refuge. This remarkable natural sanctuary, located within the second largest urban area in the country, is the inspiration for our intervention. Our response was an introverted interpretation of the canyon landscape that celebrates the water source for the new lake through a series of water features that include a grotto, an aqueduct, and a water garden. The primary circulation follows the path of the water as it travels west towards the new lake. Culminating in a large plaza at the shoreline, the view of Sycamore Canyon is seen beyond the water. Crypt spaces and columbaria shape the “canyon” walls and narrow passageways in the form of stepped “crevices” extend into the surrounding cemetery landscape. A series of smaller garden rooms are woven throughout the scheme providing opportunities for pause and reflection. The material palette was conceived as a blend of regional Sierra Nevada stone juxtaposed against smooth architectural concrete and complimented with wood and copper detailing.