Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley, CA hired us to install a columbarium in a new ‘Sacred Hoop Garden’ in the back of their property that had been an unused, heavily planted area. We removed all the plants and trees, which were non-native, to make room for the new, sacred space.
We excavated the site and for the new concrete, flagstone-clad wall, 7’ tall and 110’ long, all curved on every plane. This has been our largest natural stone project to-date and we also had the challenge of needing to match the existing walls on the chapel, done in the 1950’s, of which the rock was no longer in existence, style or size.
The main idea of this space is a tribute to the original inhabitants of the land, a tribe of the Ohlone Indians, which lived in this part of Berkeley and to some Christian ideals. We set eleven boulders, about half a ton each, to within 1/8” of the plans and each boulder, or grouping of boulders, having a native and religious symbolism.
We installed one of four columbariums in a niche that we also clad flagstone on; planting out the other three until the spaces are needed. We installed a Coast Live Oak and all native plants to this area, with a full drip irrigation system. We also installed a permeable walking and gathering surface for strolls and events.