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. From an international open competition, Periscope was shortlisted as one of the final four teams, the result will be announced later this year.

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