Skyscrapers of the Dead

Article by Colin Dickey on Lapham’s Quarterly

Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica in Santos, Brazil [1983] – world’s tallest cemetery!
Its concentration of real estate allows it to occupy a location close to living, and this together with its iconic form and current status as a tourist destination allow it to go some way in fulfilling its objective of demystifying the cemetery.

Cemetery Sao Jose in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Brazil built its first crematorium in 1983 in Sao Paulo at around the same time as the San Jose Cemetery would have been built. It seems as though Brazil was attempting to solve the overcrowding of its cemeteries architecturally rather than relying on the technological (and highly un-ecological) solution of cremation.

Moshka Tower, Mumbai, India
The tower seeks to meet the needs of the entire burial process for several cultures within the city and create a temporary place of repose in the sky. For Muslims, it provides areas for funerals and space for garden burial; for Christians, areas for funerals and burial; for Hindus, facilities for cremation and a river to deposit a portion; for Parsis, a tower of silence is located on the roof of the tower.

Metropolitan Sepulcher, by Thomas Wilson [1820]
“This grand mausoleum will go far towards completing the glory of London. It will rise in majesty over its splendid fanes and lofty towers—teaching the living to die, and the dying to live for ever.”

The Last House, by Chanjoong Kim
Bringing the vertical cemetery into line with more contemporary architectural styles and approaches and drawing on a zoomorphic language that echoed systems of vascular circulation, the Last House sparked debate concerning changes in funeral rituals related to the social changes that have taken place.

Architecture appears swift to take the opportunity to address a new area where death creates a market, on the borderline between consumerism and entertainment.

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