Winning teams shaping future of Highgate Cemetery revealed

Designs of how Highgate Cemetery could take shape to boost its biodiversity

Designs of how Highgate Cemetery could take shape to boost its biodiversity - Credit: Gustafson Porter + Bowman

The two design teams responsible for helping shape the future of Highgate Cemetery have been revealed.  

The resting place of Karl Marx and George Michael announced on Thursday (July 1) the two winners of a competition to help prepare a 25-year masterplan.  

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

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

Martin Adeney, chair of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, said: “Our competition briefs set out the challenges and opportunities for Highgate Cemetery posed by climate change, decay and evolving visitor expectations.

The Hopkins proposals will take into account the underlying geometry of the cemetery

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

“Those responding were asked to balance these requirements with the fact that we are a working cemetery - 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 fit for the 21st century. We were impressed by the work and thought that all the entrants put in, 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 plans.” 

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The competition, which began in November last year, included an online exhibition. The winners were decided by a panel of judges. 

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 flourish as a place for burial, and a reserve for nature in the 21st century”.  

“We are looking forward to building a relationship with the local community, extracting and sharing Highgate Cemetery’s wealth of stories, and implementing an ‘experience plan’ for a sustainable future,” Andrew said. 

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

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

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

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

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

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