What does a city with an overwhelming issue of space do with their dead?

A necessary solution to the city’s overwhelming issue of space, population, and the reality of death

Design for Hong Kong

At 7 million people Hong Kong is one of the densest populated cities in the world. There is hardly enough room for the living, let alone the dead. 50,000 families currently wait for somewhere to bury their loved one’s ashes.

11.2016

Team

Crawford George, Andre Farstad, Jesme Zhang, Yuri Maharaj

my role

The majority of the project was equally divided among the team, and Jesme was responsible for the architecture renderings.

Problem

It became fairly clear to us that traditional burial practices were not going to work as there is not enough physical space. The government wants citizens to use sea burials, but they are widely disliked as common practices use slides and plastic bags to dispose of the ashes which as as one might expect, seems cheap and disrespectful.

Current practices are insensitive, not culturally adoptable

solution one : urn

A hollow top shell is attached to its weighted counterpart to create a controlled descent through the water. The smooth texture on the top shell allows for personalization while the rougher base indicates where it is meant to be held as well as encouraging the respectful handling and releasing of the urn. Inside, the base of the urn holds the cremated ashes. In production, industrial bio-waste such as sugarcane and spent paper are recycled into a pulp before being compression molded.
Current practices release the urn from a slide or tube. The redesign encourages careful handling of the urn by sliding down their arms. It then is intended to hit the water with a small splash before gracefully and slowly descending.

Introducing A culture to the idea of mourning digitally

Memorial areas carry important social functions by connecting the living to the dead through physical monuments. Columbariums and grave sites allow families to physically visit and mourn the dead. The emotional value in knowing the permanence of these memorials is comforting and preferable to the absence of location associated with sea burials.

The dock has oled transparent screens that allow an infinite amount of families to visit

These digital tombstones blend seamlessly with their environment when inactive, and react directly to visitors who approach them. Cement walls within the dock create barriers of privacy to combat the stigmas associated with sharing a grieving space. This structure aims to encourage a positive attitude towards the idea of a communal monument.