The interior of Estes Funeral Chapel and Cremation services is currently being constructed.
Rooms, walls, ceilings, windows, halls, floors and doors are being installed. Presently, the building systems, such as the mechanical, electrical, fire suppression, and soon plumbing will be completed. This building will host the most recent technology available for a small single-use facility. Those systems, coupled with the architects well thought out and executed floor plan, bring a level of sophistication that is welcomed and needed for the tasks at hand … bereavement and mourning and healing.
The floor plan allows for a larger and more visible entry from the new, expanded parking lot. The main entry opens into a glazed vestibule. Another set of doors will bring visitors into the main lobby. To the right is the coat room, but directly in front is an ornamental fireplace. This was a deliberate choice since the watching of fire creates alpha-waves in our brains. Alpha-waves release chemicals that calm and sooth. This creates a relaxed state in our brains and aids in the negotiation of difficult and unpleasant situations. The fireplace was installed specifically to bring a calming effect to these occasions. The wall behind the fireplace houses a small conference room were the arrangements for the departed are made.
To the right of the main lobby, there are twin double-height ceiling, chapels in this new building. Each chapel has multi-level ceilings with recessed lighting, coupled with clerestory windows. The east chapel has east and north oriented clerestory windows. The west chapel has west and north oriented clerestory windows. It will have a private reflective garden immediately outside. This garden will be separated from the exterior parking lot by a masonry wall. These two chapels can be arranged into one larger single chapel. To minimize heat-gain and intense solar glare, there are no south facing clerestory windows in this building. Behind the chapels are the preparation areas and the vehicle garage.
From the main lobby, restrooms are available. Adjacent to the restrooms is a “family room.” This room allows the family to have the flexibility and quiet that may be needed during this period of difficulty. Management and staff offices are located at the north end of the building. From the time arrangements are initiated until all procedures have been completed, this facility will provide, as succinctly stated by Tracy Wesley, director, “ceremonies for families to honor their loved ones who have passed on.”
This is a new building. This is a new interior. It was built with brand new materials. The architect’s interior layout and floor plan are simple, straight-forward and stunning. They are simple in their elegance. Straight-forward in their function. And stunning in its execution. This interior will be in place for many years into the future of our community. The physical features of this new building will bring new light-filled, spacious chapels, hallways and supporting rooms. The natural light will enter this building through a variety of window types – clerestory, transom and fixed. The sunlight will be a welcome element in the formal proceedings offered by this business. This will be a new and different facility. These are new and different interiors. They will make visitors feel welcome, humble and reverent.
Since July of 2017, architect Randall Bradley has been writing a multi-part series on the construction of the new development at the corners of Penn Avenue North and Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis.