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comfort house at old city cemetery

project story

The Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg is the oldest active municipal cemetery in Virginia.  Established in 1806, these 27 acres are, not only, an active place of burial and remembrance, but have also become one of the busiest and most popular attractions in the city with more than 33,000 visitors annually.  Leadership wanted to construct a “comfort house” as the signature 150th anniversary project.  This “comfort house” would enhance the beauty and interest of the Cemetery, improve the overall visitor experience, and support the long-term sustainability of Lynchburg’s most visited historic site.

A concept scheme and design principles were developed that would guide the design as it moved forward. This new “comfort house” would be located near the Bicentennial Chapel; it would emulate the 2:3 proportions of the Chapel; it would not exceed one-third the size of the Chapel, so as to read “big sister to little sister; it would not be as “finished” as the Chapel in materials and aesthetics; it would read more as a gardener’s tool shed, and it would resolve an accessibility issue to the Chapel’s lower level Columbarium.

It provides a private parlor, outdoor terrace, and restroom facilities for the many weddings, funerals, theatrical performances, school tours, and other events now held in and near the Chapel.  

This special anniversary gift begins a new chapter in the life of this unique “grave garden.”

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Square footage: 
Services: architecture