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Vertical Cemetery, Future of the past


Most of us don’t like to think about death. But as the global population expands, the disposal of the deceased becomes more pressing. According to the 2014 report the world birth to death ratio is 3:1 and it increases to 2:1 in 2016 . As the years go by the no.of deaths increase along with the birth rate. It is estimated that in 2045 the land needed for burials around the world would come to an end. The growing no.of designers and urban planners are tackling this issue with innovative concepts for cemeteries of the future. Since there is no archetypal form for a crematorium, this design would create one such structure. To solve the space constraints for the dead in order to ensure adequate capacity to continually accommodate the newly dead.

The Madras Cemeteries Board, which looks after 3 cemeteries in Chennai, recently started a 450 unit multi-tier vault burial which looks like bank lockers. It just took 8 years to get filled up. The largest and the oldest cemetery, Kilpauk was partially closed for new burials in April 2005 because there was little available space. On comparing the 3 main religions of the country, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, Hindus wouldn’t face land constrain as they cremate. It looks impossible to change Muslim's religious practices. They don’t believe in cremation because they believe in after life for which they need a body for the souls to enter. On comparison, Christians are open to changes or at least ready to accept the changes. So bringing a solution for Christians would be a better option. So the project evolves around to bring a vertical structure in Kilpauk cemetery by also conserving the existing cemetery. People often look at cemeteries as a negative place which shouldn’t be visited, so it lost its sensitivity and respect. This is because they aren’t maintained properly. As years go by the serenity attached to this religious place has faded which needs to be preserved as it is the final resting place for their loved ones. The best example is the world wonder Taj Mahal, a massive structure known for its intricate details, stands as the symbol of love, in spite of being a mausoleum. An effort should be put to improve the spatial quality for the living. However, issues relating

to the handling of the dead are seldom addressed. So I would like to create a high-rise cemetery for handling and disposal of dead bodies, which would provide storage for the dead and ensure adequate capacity to continually accommodate. My concept revolves around 3 different outlooks. One is the golden triangle where each corner depicts different elements of a soul. They are life, death and grief which keeps revolving again and again. Triangular shape gives the sense of continuity on all its corners. That is why each floor plate is triangular in shape to metaphorically depict that we should look for continuity at any point of our lives. Secondly there are 4 elements of Christianity without which the final rituals don’t take place. They are air, fire, water and land which symbolically act as the 4 pillars of the structure. Lastly, when considering the most important places involved in a Christian funeral were church, committal room and burial ground. The design converges emotions and make the people pass through different spaces and make them realize that life is a combination of emotions that one needs to cross at some point or the other. This as an open structure to remove the claustrophobic feeling which will be created by the verticality. Each floor has multiple voids to make the user feel connected with all the floor plates. Being an open structure, people know what’s happening, which helps in the removal of the stigma.

The Board:
Vertical Cemetery, Future of the past Board
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