reflecting pool windows doors glass railings

Built into the hillside to preserve the cemetery’s pastoral quality, the Lakewood Garden Mausoleum’s elegantly simple design quietly embraces the landscape while offering a contemplative interior experience. This granite-clad, 24,000 square-foot, two-level mausoleum includes six crypt rooms, six columbaria rooms, three family crypt rooms, committal room, and support spaces. Light filters through exquisite patinaed bronze metal curtainwall, slim-slotted windows, and exterior ground-level walking surface skylights to offer a peaceful and serene experience to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Inside, light filters through skylights and lantern-windows to strengthen the relationship between the spiritual and the earth-bound. Clad in rough-textured gray granite and white mosaic-marble, the mausoleum unfolds horizontally on its site within three smaller pods that recall the many family mausoleums throughout the historic cemetery. 

Lakewood Garden Mausoleum-ExteriorLakewood Garden Mausoleum was designed by award-winning Design Principal Joan M. Soranno, FAIA with Project Architect John Cook, FAIA of HGA Architects and Engineers with General Contractor Mortenson Construction. Empirehouse joined HGA as a design-assist partner and was selected as the Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor for this one-of-a-kind project. The design-assist services Empirehouse contributed to the project helped bring the Architect’s unique design vision into reality, while keeping the project within budget.

Taking the Architect’s vision and the Owner’s requirements, Empirehouse brought together a team of premium manufacturers and laced them together with our architectural glass, metal and glazing expertise. Together we provided custom-designed bronze metal and glass products for doors, curtainwall, and window framing that are contemporary, transparent, and functional and compliment the existing structures.


The Lakewood Garden Mausoleum is not only unique, it is one of the finest constructed projects in the state of Minnesota. The attention to detail, the superior material quality of bronze and glass used for the skylights, windows, hand railings, and entrance doors, highlight old world craftsmanship.

Architectural Glass and Metal Scope:

SkylightSix Flat Skylights: The skylights protrude from the ground on the green roof, surrounded by bronze architectural panels and spheres. These skylights are flat, single pieces of glass which are designed to let in light and act as a walk-able roof surface. Three single pieces of glass 6 feet by 12 feet, and three 7-foot diameter circles were provided.

Custom Fabricated Bronze Clad Windows: The architect’s vision was to create a flat exterior glass surface with hidden caulk joints and a delicate touch of bronze at the perimeter. The interior is clad with bronze to give the interior warmth and charm. Glass is maximized to create transparency and offers viewers the feeling of being outdoors. These windows are set with 3M Glazing Tape.

Lakewood-Exterior-05Ten Oversized Bronze Balanced Doors with Decorative Grills and Custom Art Glass: The main entrance features an ornate bronze grill pattern applied to the exterior with a wide perimeter accent trim. The doors are designed with a hinged glass panel to easily clean the exterior glass. The garden doors are glazed with custom carved and painted art glass, and the main garden door is surrounded by a protruding solid bronze shroud.

Glass Guardrails: Six hundred feet of guardrail surrounds the exterior and interior of the building. The exterior guardrail at the terrace and green roof overlooks the new garden and is glazed with 1/2″ tempered glass and clad with bronze at the base and the top of the glass. The interior guardrail overlooks the grand stair from the terrace level down to the garden level. Over 250 feet of custom bronze rail have been installed at the interior grand stair and two exterior stairs.

Family Crypt Gates: Located at the main entrance doors are three sets of bronze gates fabricated from solid bronze with a similar ornate pattern.

Special Components: Specialty materials include bronze trim around the reflecting pool, Knot Garden, Terrace Garden, and a bronze bench around an elevated lawn. Over 200 feet of light coves are located throughout the interior glazed with 9/16″ laminated frosted glass. All bronze components were treated with a chemical “patina” to match the century old weathered bronze that you see throughout the grounds and buildings.

Video: Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum
Video Lakewood Garden Mausoleum

“As an architect, it is not always easy to find trusted construction trade partners to work directly with us in the early stages of designing and detailing a project. The passion and expertise to support and advance our early ideas are found at Empirehouse. It is always an extreme pleasure to work closely with their team members to develop, price and test during the research and development stages. These projects typically come with extreme challenges for high performance and great aesthetics (we always treat these with equal importance) and they have never failed to deliver. Our most representative example is our partnership with them on the Lakewood Garden Mausoleum project where Empirehouse excelled at providing a level of service and a quality of product for window systems, skylight systems and bronze components that exceeded our most restrictive expectations. The project went on to win numerous awards including a much coveted 2014 AIA National Honor Award.”

John Cook, FAIA
Vice President & Project Architect
HGA Architects and Engineers

Special thanks to HGA Architects and Mortenson Construction for the opportunity to share in this experience of providing design-assist services and installing Architectural Glass & Metal products that will be used and appreciated for decades and centuries to come.

Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Glazing Specialty Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Completed: 2011

Let the Empirehouse design-assist and constructability experts identify and solve your architectural glass and metal system issues before your next construction project begins. Call Empirehouse at (763) 535-1150 or contact us.

Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)