July 21, 2009

built from ashes

As our cities increase to widths unimaginable the balance between the living and the dead must carefully be weighed. Historically in many cultures the dead were sited on the perimeter our towns or set a blaze reduced to ashes. Increasingly in our modern society especially where land is of a premium, areas previously earmarked for the dead are becoming housing or worse big box retail outlets. And it seemed we lost our regard for the dead or so we thought.

There has been a substantial increase over the years of architect designed crematoriums and sites for burial - sculptural, restrained, silent. Flores Zanchi describes the crematorium as "a space which induces contemplation of the thin line separating life from death and necessarily calls up absolute, archetypal forms...far removed from ordinary architectural issues"

Below is a list of the visually stimulating.

Treptow Crematorium by Axel Schultes & Charlotte Frank with its forest of concrete columns piercing the slab, symbolically leading the ashes of the departed to the white light above

The restrained modernism of the crematorium in Heimolen by architects Claus en Kaan

Igualada Cemetery Park in Barcelona, Spain by Carme Pinos and the late Enric Miralles. This is a poetic exploration that transforms the surrounding landscape in a series of descending streets

The chapel at St. Mary of Angels Cemetery by Mecanoo architects in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

1 comment:

lanz said...

Architecture from the Netherlands has often before been criticized for being very form driven and form based. For a contemplative space though, such as this one, I think the form making is very effective and conducive to a contemplation. =)

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