Sacred Ground?

Student: Chris Gillen
Adviser: Noah Resnick


Sacred space often evokes a broadened sense of awareness, it employs an experience of emotion, sensation, and memory that transcends the spatial. Landscape as the common sense of the term, referring to the physical articulation of vegetation, as well as a broadened understanding with regard to the city as a complex landscape of many parts. These concepts have been fused to begin a further understanding for the treatment of cemetery as sacred urban landscape.


When one thinks of the cemetery, it is often an ambiguous space embedded with uncomfortable realities of death. The cemetery may be understood as an endpoint of life’s existence, “a final resting place”. However, these landscapes exist amongst the enduring city which is very much alive, thus recording life’s end becomes restricted, often awkward in the landscape. The tension of the cemetery amongst an organic, evolving, consistently fluid city can create static presence. It is the aim of this thesis to illustrate an awareness of the cemetery in relation to a lifetime continuum: a living landscape, while sensitive to remembrance and the psychological necessity for grief. An architecture that is the suggestion to an urban landscape as much for the living as it is for the dead.

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