Highgate Cemetery Design Contest Winners Revealed

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The two design teams tasked with helping shape the future of Highgate Cemetery have been revealed.

Karl Marx and George Michael’s resting place announced Thursday (July 1) the two winners of a competition to help prepare a 25-year master plan.

Gustafson Porter + Bowman was selected as the winner of the landscape competition and Hopkins Architects of the architectural project competition.

The historic cemetery claims that the teams’ work towards a long-term vision will secure its future and ensure that the historic site remains sustainable for the 21st century.

Martin Adeney, Chairman of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, said: “Our competition dossiers describe the challenges and opportunities for Highgate Cemetery posed by climate change, degradation and changing visitor expectations.


The Hopkins proposals will take into account the underlying geometry of the cemetery
– Credit: Hopkins Architects

“Those who responded were asked to balance these demands with the fact that we are a working cemetery – which is no easy task.

“The two we have chosen, Gustafson Porter + Bowman and Hopkins Architects, will work together on a long-term plan that will ensure Highgate Cemetery is ready for the 21st century. We were impressed with the work and thought that all participants participated, but the winners stood out.

“Both practices demonstrated a level of sensitivity and respect for the cemetery which is fundamental to the success of any plan.”

The competition, which began in November last year, included an online exhibition. The winners were chosen by a jury.

Neil Porter, founding partner of Gustafson Porter + Bowman, said his firm would help “transform one of London’s most iconic cemeteries into one that continues to thrive as a burial place and nature reserve in the 21st century.”

“We look forward to building relationships with the local community, extracting and sharing the wealth of stories from Highgate Cemetery and implementing an ‘Experimental Plan’ for a sustainable future,” said Andrew.


Highgate Cemetery is owned by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, which saved it from neglect in 1975

Highgate Cemetery is owned by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, which saved it from neglect in 1975
– Credit: Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust

Simon Fraser, Director of Hopkins Architects, said: “We believe this project is about learning about the rich symbolism and meaning of the past, while being sensitive to the present.

“Our approach will be to anticipate future needs and support the evolution of the cemetery in a way that retains its essential character.

Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839. It is the resting place of major cultural figures such as George Eliot, Lucian Freud and Douglas Adams.


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