DECOMPOSITION + BERTH

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  • Ross Guntert
  •  
  • Committee: Rene Davids | Harrison Fraker
  • oceans, rivers + architecture

World cities are facing unprecedented development pressures. Hong Kong’s population in particular is increasing and land as a resource is becoming more valuable. Now we, more than ever, are challenged to creatively maximize space for all types of land uses.

As the urban population has grown, space for burial of the dead has become limited thereby prompting communities to consider alternatives to traditional land burial. Considering the pressures for land in urban areas it seems appropriate to rethink the existing cemetery typologies and consider a more creative way of burying and commemorating the dead. This thesis believes that decommissioned cargo ships offer an opportunity to explore meaningful alternatives to traditional burial rituals in densifying coastal cities around the world.

The project evolved through a concentrated reflection on the memory of space in the midst of my own sister’s funeral. Space here is distorted through the lens of emotion and chopped into segments or moments in time that are exaggerated in memory. These memories, while not specific to the events of the funeral but of sensations experienced that time, are rich with perceptions of light, material and volume of space. People, other than myself, are absent in these memories; a one on one experience with myself and death. This project looks at architecture as a facilitator of the emotional transitions one goes through in the mourning process and reflects these transitions through an exploration of architecture and urban space that, like human life, is limi