Mausoleums may sound outdated; however, they are still a prevalent choice for private family burials. Many different types and styles of mausoleums are available today, and we'd like to explore a few with you.
What are Mausoleums?
Mausoleums are above-ground structures that contain the crypt or the crypts of the deceased. They can be as simple as a granite-style mausoleum that is large enough to cover a single coffin or casket or massive structures built to resemble the architectural styles of old from elegant Greek and classical Roman styles and soaring Gothic and Romanesque designs.
Single-crypt mausoleums sit at ground level and have one crypt that holds the remains of one body. Multi-crypt style mausoleums are ground-level that contain more than one set of remains and can be as straightforward or as ornate as the owner likes.
In terms of layout, crypts in mausoleums can be found as follows:
- Placed side-by-side, designed for two people.
- Single crypt. Containing the remains of one person in a casket or cremation urn.
- Companion or end-to-end crypts: Companion crypts are designed for two people but only take up the space of a single crypt. The caskets or niches are lined up end-to-end, and a single marker is shared.
- Westminster family crypts: Sometimes referred to as "Westminister crypts." The style of the crypt is built to accommodate as many people as one needs with various crypt arrangements such as on top of each other in 2-crypt, 3-crypt, 4-crypt, 8-crypt, or other multi-crypt family lawn-style mausoleums. Each person can have their marker or plaque or share a single large marker.
Some of the more common mausoleum styles include:
- Garden or Outdoor Style.
These mausoleums are open-air structures without a defined walk-in interior. The crypt openings are on the outside. Some of them may have shaded rooves and benches for sitting.
- Private Mausoleums
Walk-in mausoleums, also known as private mausoleums, are structures with walls, a roof, and a working door with interior space for the family to visit with the crypts on the inside. Many walk-ins may feature niches or columbariums for cremated remains and places for personal art and memorial items left by loved ones. They provide privacy for families and an intimate setting to honor their loved ones.
- Above Ground Burial Vaults.
A solid container, usually granite, holds one or more caskets or cremation niches. They are generally rectangular in nature and sit above the ground.
- Public Mausoleums.
Public or community mausoleums allow families to purchase a private niche where the casket is interred and sealed or a columbarium for cremated remains and sealed with a marker. They are indoor structures that can provide spaces for families to meditate or pray while viewing the exterior crypt of their loved ones.
- Lawn Crypts.
Lawn crypts are undergrown mausoleums, with vaults holding pre-installed caskets and combining in-ground burial benefits with mausoleum entombment.
- Sarcophagus Mausoleums
These types of mausoleums are half underground and half above ground. There are no doors, windows, or benches, hence the sarcophagus. These mausoleums hold burials in a stone or concrete structure below ground, with just one crypt or marker visible above the ground.
Mausoleum Design Styles
Mausoleums can be built in every architectural form imaginable, reflecting the personality and style of their owners. While classical is always popular, other techniques are commonly used or combined to create intriguing memorials.
Some designs remain so abstract that they defy any labels. Conceptual designs are part art, part sculpture, part statement, and part science as much as architecture. It uniquely represents a thought or idea and doesn't fit any traditional style.
Baroque style is a popular design style choice for mausoleums with curving lines, unbalanced extensions, intricate details, and high ornamentation.
Mausoleums in the Gothic style have ribbed vaults, pointed arches, ornate stonework, and irregular shapes.
Semi-circular arches and columns with symmetrical designs and thick walls are a hallmark of Romanesque mausoleums.
The classical mausoleum is perhaps the most popular in design styles. Symmetrical with balanced proportions, the classical style has columns, pediments, and often sculptures but remains restrained and tasteful in decoration.
Mausoleums have been used for centuries as places of beauty, memory, and mourning. Private and public mausoleums are often beautiful parts of a person's or family's historical heritage, withstanding the test of time. Unique, beautiful, and secure mausoleums are essential to human history and legacy.