Highgate Cemetery Landscape Masterplan is a 75-year design vision for the renewal of the Grade 1 listed burial ground.

An illustration of the West Cemetery in 2025

Highgate is one of the world’s finest examples of a picturesque cemetery, and has long been home to some of the greatest men and women of London’s history. It is also a working burial ground that is running out of space; and a long-neglected woodland suffering from habitat loss, flooding, subsidence and heritage deterioration. Commissioned by the Highgate Cemetery Trust, a masterplan and 25-year management scheme need to simultaneously safeguard the cemetery’s history as well as equipping it for the future.

The West Cemetery in 2021

A series of tools for application to the existing cemetery

Our vision for Highgate Cemetery envisages a place of coexistence for all life and all death - human and non-human, local and global. Karl Marx is joined by the last white rhino; the Victorian common graves are accompanied by mausoleums for stag beetles; and contemporary ecological death practices nourish the earth for future generations.

Celebration of veteran trees in the East Cemetery

Highgate is a place where nature has coexisted alongside human burial for centuries, but it has done so coincidentally. Our proposal looks to a future of fully integrated natural systems where the cemetery is managed as a circular, zero-waste woodland; to the gradual growth of a future climate-adapted forest; where communities are invited to learn and work with the woodland; and where human death cycles are aligned with ecological life.

Localised grave removal and memorial retention in the West Cemetery

Site Plan

We embrace a fully cross-disciplinary approach, working with a diverse team of specialists in sustainability, heritage and the arts to balance the needs of a highly complex site.

The greenhouse chapel invites alternative commemoration through growth

Balancing ponds as reflection spaces in the east cemetery

A cemetery for all species

Sections showing how the cemetery develops over time

An illustration of the West Cemetery in 2050

Client Highgate Cemetery Trust
Year 2021
Project Value £10m
Sector Public Realm
Service Landscape Architecture / Masterplanning
Collaborators Dekka / Denis Vickers Ecology / Expedition Engineering / MOLA / Parks Agency / Russell Miller / Something & Son / Stockdale / UCL / Useful Projects