Martin Hojny

Martin Hojny

New York, NY, US


Landscapes of Return

The unprecedented growth of the human population that we are
witnessing today has already had a negative impact on space and resource
management. It is predicted that by 2050 the worldʼs population will reach 11
billion. It is understood that there is a direct spatial correlation between the living
and the dead thus the overpopulation of the living will result in the overpopulation
of the dead. The current burial practices and rituals will no longer be a
sustainable option both in terms of our environment and the spaces we occupy. It
is important to acknowledge this and to reevaluate our relationship to how we die.
This project will continue the urban burial tradition of cemeteries such as
the Trinity Church Cemetery of New York and The Granary Burial Ground of
Boston. It will also emphasize the necessity of a central resting place for the
forefathers and foremothers of each urban environment. Contrary to past
traditions and in the spirit of feasibility this project will negotiate spatially between
the living and the dead in a manner that is respectful to both. Traditionally places
of burial have been deemed as inactive spaces. Challenging this preconception
is the primary goal of this project. A well-developed system of circulation and a
conscious use of thresholds will be the stimuli for achieving this objective.
The site that will be used to test the above mentioned ideas is a corner
condition between two major arteries of downtown Providence. The once
occupied lot is now only a vacant architectural reminiscence. The siteʼs
circumstance has the potential to weave together the lost urban fabric by
implementing the given program of an active burial space. Each burial will occur
within an above ground burial unit that on two levels can hold up to four bodies.
Each unit will challenge the relationship between the living and the dead by
facilitating ʻa face to faceʼ conversation rather than the ʻtop downʼ relationship we
often see today. Furthermore each unit will be a water-harvesting device that will
connect to a system of water ponds located throughout the site thus activating
the intermediary space between the living and the dead. The central circulation
core will be the primary ʻoccupiedʼ space of the living. It will provide an efficient
opportunity to move through the city as well as a space for repose within the site.
Secondary circulation routes will determine the burial zoning and provide
secondary spaces for the living.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Providence, RI, US
My Role: Designer