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VMZINC® Announces Completion of Saint Mary of The Cross Mausoleum

Mausoleum in Melbourne Stands as a Prime Example of the Current Revival of Funerary Architecture.

Raleigh, NC, April 12, 2013 --( VMZINC® -US and Umicore Building Products, USA Inc. (, a leading specialist in innovative zinc products manufactured and sold by the Building Products Unit of Umicore, has announced the completion of Saint Mary of the Cross Mausoleum at the Melbourne General Cemetery, located in Melbourne, Australia. Harmer Architecture, a boutique architectural studio based in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia, designed the contemporary mausoleum that revives the long-neglected tradition of funerary architecture.

Aligning with Harmer Architecture’s mission to focus on using project materials that accurately convey the expression of forms, Saint Mary of the Cross Mausoleum is a building that uses a clever, disparate mix of various building materials. Using the Igualada Cemetery, located near Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, as a source of inspiration, the newly constructed mausoleum consists of a series of vaults with standardized dimensions and parallelepiped cavities stacked on top of one another to accommodate additional coffins.

With the goal of building a space to increase the capacity of Saint Mary Cemetery, where lack of space allowed only a minimum surface area, the new mausoleum is the first in Australia to combine above- and below-ground crypts. Visitors are received in two long parallel corridors forming high galleries with views to the exterior via large vertical openings in a pleated wall clad in multicolored zinc, provided by VMZINC. The pleating is a reference to the neighboring parish center, also designed by Harmer Architecture. Additionally, windows were designed to provide a view of the surrounding landscape, while simultaneously allowing optimum indoor light. The centerpiece of the gathering area, the bronze sculpture of St. Mary McKillop, designed by Julie Squires, expresses and portrays St. Mary’s life as a teacher and provides a potent symbol of a devoted spiritual life to which Italian Catholics are emotionally connected.

Although funerary architecture has been present throughout the history of architecture, it became rather discreet in the 20th century due to the decline of religion and the movement of families visiting hospitals rather than churches to mark the beginning and end to the cycle of life. Yet death has provided much inspiration for some of the most remarkable buildings in the history of architecture, dating as far back as the pyramids. Upon its completion, Saint Mary of the Cross Mausoleum stands as a textbook example of the trend to revive funerary architecture, a domain where the art of building is focused around recreating meaning and dignity for those who have gone before us.

“We experimented with a much broader palette of materials to generate a feeling of comfort and hope for people coming to the mausoleum,” said the project’s architect from Harmer Architecture. “We used wood, stainless steel and two different colors of zinc to blend the building into the context of the existing cemetery. The durability of zinc seemed appropriate for use in a building intended to house the deceased.”

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About VMZINC®:
VMZINC® is the international brand name of rolled zinc products manufactured and sold by the Building Products Unit of Umicore. VMZINC®, a leader in the French and Belgian markets and established in 15 countries worldwide, offers an unparalleled range of roofing products and systems, façade cladding, rainwater systems and ornaments. With a large focus on customer satisfaction, VMZINC®’s products and services have become synonymous with high quality, innovation and environmentally sustainable design. As the first company to diversify its range of surface aspects, VMZINC® offers six unique shades of preweathered zinc, in addition to natural zinc. The company strongly identifies with the Umicore Group values of responsibility, performance and progress, and for more than 10 years, VMZINC® has been closely involved with Umicore initiatives to give its operations a sustainable development framework. For additional information, visit

About Umicore Building Products USA/VMZINC®:
Umicore is a worldwide leading producer of architectural zinc under the brand name, VMZINC®. For more than 160 years, Umicore has provided innovative solutions for building owners, architects and contractors. Umicore has offices and representatives all over the world. In the United States, Umicore Building Products USA, Inc., is based in Raleigh, N.C. For additional information, visit

About Harmer Architecture:
Harmer Architecture is a boutique architectural studio based in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia. The studio was formed in 1985 by Philip Harmer, the director of the practice, with two associates Ken Seakins and Andrew Briant. The work of Harmer Architecture is mainly in the realm of community buildings and public space, and includes churches, theatres, universities and with specific expertise in mausoleums. The firm has a philosophy of providing work enhances people’s lives and designing projects to tell a specific story about a community or group, similar to what Jean Nouvel speaks of in design that expresses ‘specificity’. Harmer Architecture’s most inspiring architect is Bruce Goff from the USA, whose work possesses an extraordinary sense of inventiveness, lyricism and power of place with a passion for materials, color and detail. They are also inspired by Enric Miralles, whose command of form, geometry and pattern is also extraordinary and worthy of ongoing study. For additional information, visit

Kathleen Donnelly
MMI Public Relations
(919) 233-6600
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Patty Briguglio

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