Toyo Ito designed this “Meiso no Mori” (Forest of Meditation) Funeral Hall in Gifu, which was completed in 2006. Ito is one of the most celebrated architect in Japan and he won the Pritzker Prize in 2013. Unfortunately I the crematorium visited on a Monday during lunchtime, which is peak funeral time and I was not able to go inside, but I was able to see how the space functioned through the large glass walls from across the pond. The space is simple, airy, bright, and clean. It feels calm and natural, and simple partitions separate different funeral parties to give privacy, but still allow the space to feel open. There are some amazing pictures online from the perspective of the photographer standing on the roof, and Ito even suggested it might be used a functional gathering space. It reminds me of large cloud of smoke, and thus alludes to the building’s purpose but while still remaining elegant and sophisticated.
Also, there is a pet cemetery across the street with its own separate crematorium.