Bushey Jewish Cemetery review – a place of dignity and ease

Bushey, Hertfordshire
Elegant pavilions, a broad portico and thick walls of ‘rammed earth’ create a calm, unobtrusive £6m extension and 17,000 more burial spaces for the Jewish community of north-west London

In a Wahaca restaurant in London’s Covent Garden there stands, improbably, a wall in rammed earth, an ancient but now uncommon construction technique. It was here that Andrew Waugh, of the architects Waugh Thistleton, took representatives of the United Synagogue, to persuade them to use it on the extension he was designing for their cemetery in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

They liked it. “It’s like the Wailing Wall,” said one, also improbably. They stuck with the earth, even though it required importing a specialist from Western Australia to do the job, together with a shipping container full of formwork and other aids. They persisted even after a trial wall collapsed.

It’s well pitched between solemnity and comfort, and grandeur and human scale

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