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st patrick remembrance garden

Benoni, Johannesburg


In this project a modern “Grotto” for a statue of Mary was included in a layout for a remembrance garden with Columbarium walls for the burying of the deceased’s ashes. A reflective water feature was an fundamental part of the design, with its spiritual symbolism representing birth, baptism, death, purification and rebirth. The intention was to create a number of “garden rooms” defined by walls that loosely slide past one another. Each room would therefore have a slightly different sense of space, so that visiting one’s beloved is becomes an experience of visiting a place, not just a tomb.


Entry is by walking around a shallow pond, and by making an intentional water barrier, the experience of leaving the rest of the garden to enter a more sacred space is heightened. There is a water spout built in at the top of the marble-clad wall, which feeds a trough below, that has both a functional and subliminal purpose: to fetch water for flowers that are placed at the tombs, and its gurgling sound relaxes and refreshes the visitor. One has to step over a floor-channel connecting the trough to the pond – the final threshold of entry into the space.


St Patrick Remembrance Garden, Benoni


St Patrick Catholic Church