Memento Mori | A Non-sectarian Memorial Site in Seattle
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In North America, the contemporary cultural response to death is to enclose it within cemeteries, banish it to the periphery of the urban experience or conceal it within funeral homes. This isolation deprives urban centers and their inhabitants of a vital civic space dedicated to the acts and rituals associated with death. Distanced and forgotten from daily life, these places of remembrance are not seen as cultural resources for the communities in which they reside. This distancing of death from daily life has affected the human ability to resolve death and dying. With the current preference of cremation over ground-burials and an increase in secularization of the population in the US, an opportunity arises to reconsider the location and design of memorial spaces. This thesis explores the potential for architecture to contribute to the spaces where life and death intersect, enabling them to enrich the human experience by charging our everyday lives with the emotional power that comes from awareness of our own mortality. This project proposes a reinsertion of memorial spaces into the Seattle city core, to re-establish the connection between the dead and living, replacing the rarely visited cemetery landscape with spaces woven into the urban fabric, everyday places for social gathering.
- Architecture