How a culture treats the deceased is a reflection of the culture itself. In a world of globalization, cities have become a melting pot of cultures. Designboom in organization with Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation and the support of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), has organized a competition entitled: Design for Death and Architecture. Three prizes were awarded to the winning designs.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture-Marta Piaseczynska + Rangel Karaivonov (2)

Courtesy of  Marta Piaseczynska + Rangel Karaivonov

The first prize of 25,000 Euros went to Marta Piaseczynska + Rangel Karaivonov from Austria. The project was entitled ‘Post-Community’ and embodies a dialogue between the two communities: the living and the deceased. The design is in reaction to the density of today’s urban environments, where cemeteries have become less incorporated in the social life and more of a peripheral location that is occasionally visited.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture-Marta Piaseczynska + Rangel Karaivonov (6)

Courtesy of  Marta Piaseczynska+ Rangel Karaivonov

Post-Community creates a procession by means of a ramp that takes you to the heart of the space, where the floor is a mirror of the sky. Urns line the façade. The visitor calls a name, causing the urns to shift as the called urn or urns make their way towards the visitor, making it a literal dialogue between the living and the passed-away.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture-Thomas Series (3)

Courtesy of  Thomas Series

The second runner up is ‘My Favorite Place’ by Thomas Series from the United States with a prize of 10,000 Euros. He proposes a ritual object in the landscape or cityscape, with a surface that projects a system of interactive and customized light. The idea is that this monolith would become a precious symbol.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture-Thomas Series (6)

Courtesy of  Thomas Series

Its presence is celebrated and seeks to de-stigmatize death as it resides in its designated location. It is free of architectural style or rather architecture itself, being its own independent object-in-the-landscape that evokes wonder and awe.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture - Juan Isaza  (2)

 Courtesy of  Thomas Series

The third prize of 5,000 Euros went to Sky Light by Juan Isaza from Colombia. The design is more of a landscape or plaza than a building, and it houses up to 20,000 remains encapsulated in a glowing urn light or Sky Star. Thus, the structure is actually of a man-made cosmos where family trees become constellations.

Arch2o-Design for Death Architecture - Juan Isaza  (6)

Courtesy of  Thomas Series

All winning entries provide a freedom. They do not dictate the mourning process, but simply provide a universal space freed of religious and cultural attachment, allowing for all obsequies of whichever nature.

By Aiysha Alsane

Courtesy of  Marta Piaseczynska + Rangel Karaivonov – Thomas Series – Juan Isaza

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