Register: AUG/27/2019, Submit: AUG/31/2019, Eligibility: Anyone; individually, teams up to 5 members, Fee: 35 EUR (MAY/12 – MAY/31/2019), 50 EUR (JUN/01 – JUN/31/2019), 65 EUR (JUL/01 – AUG/15/2019), 80 EUR (AUG/16 – AUG/27/2019), Awards: 3 Winners 1,000 EUR each, 9 Honorable Mentions, 38 Finalists
The aim of the “Dying“ competition is to develop design proposals for the cemetery typology, intended as a space – either material or immaterial – where we bury, honor or remember the dead. The participants are asked to create innovative and unconventional projects on this theme, questioning the very basis of the notion of the cemetery. History has shown us different approaches related to the dying experience. Burial grounds, graveyards, cemeteries, memorial parks, and death scapes; while all of these words describe the same type of space within a community, each word conjures a different vision. Historically cemeteries were at the periphery of the city, but over time they were integrated into the urban fabric. Cemeteries can often be found near churches, or in big parks in cities, usually gated off because the ground has been consecrated, or blessed. In times of accelerating urbanization and densification, cemeteries face the challenge of keeping up their relevance as a public urban space. This condition is not only an issue of space but also of cultural identity that can be projected within its environment. The way the deceased are buried is reflective of the social, cultural, political, and religious views of the living.
Many cemeteries have areas based on different styles, reflecting the diversity of cultural practices around death and how it changes over time. We can say that contemporary cemeteries adapt and mutate, taking on and developing a variety of new educational, environmental and historical functions. They contain multiple meanings and they are both utterly mundane and extraordinary.
As we search for new ways to deal with the increasing amounts of the dead, new technology, and restraints on space, there are new possibilities for burial grounds that are being introduced.
Within this context, with critical thinking and creative attitude, the participants are urged to investigate how the dying experience can be reformed in the future, and respectively, how the concept of the cemetery as a space with material and immaterial characteristics can be reinvented.
Designers are asked to create an artifact, merging considerable programmatic innovation and valuable design tools. The proposal can be a device, a piece of furniture, an interior design project, a pavilion, a building, or an urban plan. Scale of intervention, program dimensions, and location are not given, and they can be arranged by the participants to better suit their project.
Some basic topics of investigation to approach the competition theme can already be deduced from the definition of the word “cemetery”: cemetery noun [C] – A place or an area of ground in which dead people are buried.
As follows, very essential aspects of conventional cemeteries can be questioned:
- To recognize the cemetery as a place, we need to understand the built, natural and conceptual components of urban landscapes collectively. How does the convergence of the physical and sociological concerns reflects on the connection between the ways we think about and represent cemeteries and the ways in which we use such spaces?
- Being an area increasingly considered a component of lived urban environments in the past, how can the cemetery begin to engage with its urban context? Should it begin to change over time to activate the qualities of porosity and hybridity? Or should it be detached from the urban landscape?
- Social media constitute new social spaces where the topics of death, loss, and mourning are increasingly encountered. Will social media reconfigure the process by which we mourn and remember those who passed away? Does it serve as a way to subtly engage with the emotional content of death? Or does it translate in a lack of empathy?
- How can the cemetery design change to address the modern issues of sustainability and community open space while respecting and aiding the healing process?
There is no given site, scale of intervention, or exact program dimensioning. Projects can be developed in abstract locations as well as specific places, and they can go from the scale of interior design to urban strategies. Just remember that every proposal should be focused on a very specific condition, showing one simple concept, clearly communicated and fully developed.