MAPLE GROVE CEMETERY
In the mid-1800s, Kew Gardens was a rural refuge with glacial ponds used for swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter. In 1875, Maple Grove Cemetery was established in Kew Gardens and became a 65-acre pastoral preserve of rolling hills, winding paths, and planted grounds. Today, it is the area’s only open, green landscape, the link to a more tranquil past in the midst of a busy, residential community. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The new Center at Maple Grove is an 18,000 sf landscape building that forms the gateway to the cemetery. To create this new gateway, part of an 8-foot-high masonry wall surrounding the cemetery was demolished. The removed wall was reconstructed metaphorically as the major organizing element within the building. It serves as a demarcation line between the secular landscape of Kew Gardens and the sacred landscape of the cemetery. Constructing a building based on the idea of a garden wall makes the case emphatically for opening the cemetery landscape to the community and joining together these two disparate landscapes in an interconnected and cooperative manner.