Modern Suburban Cemeteries

The 19th century picturesque aesthetic continued to influence cemetery design well into the 20th century. As death reflected the rise of different styles, from the Gothic Revival to the Beaux-Arts and finally to m odernism, the picturesque qualities of asymmetry, irregularity, contrast, and delight were now reconsidered in terms of concrete, steel, and glass; simplicity, planarity, and the suppression of decorative ornament. By mid-century, multiple traditions were represented, from ancient to modern.  In California, this also embraced regional sensibilities, as with Garrett Eckbo’s entrance to the Olivet cemetery, where the biomorphic surrealism then in fashion meets the organicism of the modern picturesque to create a new play of asymmetry and surprise. It is also only one step removed from the landscaping of the suburban house.