Colin Drake, AIA,
Meadow View Funeral Pavilion | Louisville, Kentucky
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, in partnership with the park district and several local high schools, have established a remarkable program that offers non-denominational memorial services and burials to homeless individuals and those without adequate means. Through the Indigent Burial & Cremation Program, no member of the community is ever laid to rest alone as student volunteers serve as pallbearers year round, providing dignity and respect at life’s end.
Through private donations and minimal government financial assistance, the program had outgrown a previous indigent cemetery and shifted to a more prominent neighborhood location that sought a civic presence. A pro bono collaboration of designers and builders utilized 100% donated, off-the-shelf materials to create a shelter that celebrates daylight while remaining introspective.
Components were assembled to minimize construction waste and facilitate easy repair. By inverting the more traditional gabled roof and incorporating light-diffusing glass, sunlight floods the underside of the structure and gives attendees a more direct, symbolic connection to the sky. The casket stand is centered beneath the roof to allow concelebrants to gather on all sides, further reinforcing the program’s mission that regardless of a person’s circumstance in life, each deserves respect in death.
The Meadow View Funeral Pavilion stands as a testament to JRA’s mission is to serve and respect our communities through enlivened design.