Eduardo Herrera

Eduardo Herrera

Miami, FL, US


The Burial Chapel

Beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human ex- perience. Surpassing the ordinary. Existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe.

Alvar Aalto often spoke of the necessity to design for “man at his weakest”, or in the case of a hospitalized patient, for “the hori- zontal man”. In addition to the condition of illness, we experi- ence heightened weakness and helplessness when facing the death of a friend or relative. The design of a funeral chapel or funerary objects, such as a casket urn, grave marker or monument, calls for special sensitivity, understanding and tact. Funerary Architec- ture and design has to be consoling and dignifying.

My first impulse was to create a chapel that was monumental to contrast the existing structures downtown. I later realized that monumentality of that sort would conflict with the emotions I wanted to evoke in the chapel. A monumental structure would feel like a gigantic tombstone in the middle of downtown Gainesville. The purpose of the Burial Chapel is to humanize the process of dealing with death. It will also be a place for family members to come back and remember their lost ones. The focus is placed on the emotional content of the Architecture and the experiences evoked by the space. Creating a transcendent experience became more im- portant than creating a monument for the city.

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Status: School Project
Location: Gainesville, FL, US
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: studio critic: Juhani Pallasmaa