Studio 01


The Architecture of Death: Temple, Cemetery and Crematorium in Harkness

Isabel Lasala

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90142 Studio C, ABPL90143 Studio D, and ABPL90115 Studio E.

Studio Description

Death, even if insignificant for who has died, prompts a number of activities for those who remain living—most of them related to funeral rites and mourning, as the farewell to someone beloved is one the most intense moments human beings can experience. So had you ever thought that death (and especially dead people) also need specific spatial configurations?

Funeral rites, regardless of the religion to which they belong to, require spaces where a number of highly specific activities take place. These spaces must facilitate pragmatic and efficient occupations in atmospheres where light, shadow and silence interact with spaces of timelessness and permanence.

This studio represents the opportunity to reflect upon these particular circumstances, and to design the spaces that are required at the moment of death. In this way, the studio stresses the significance of the production of appropriate spatial configurations within the full cycle of life.

Studio Outcomes

Students will be required to investigate and design spaces for a funeral and burial ceremony, based on the following program:

A temple: a space where people from different religions can mourn, celebrate and remember the life of a person who has died.

A crematorium: the place where the body is reduced to ashes.

A cemetery: the area where ashes and/or bodies are stored.

This semester the studio will operate in the Greenfield site at Harkness,  a 128 -hectare site that will represent “the largest cemetery development project in Victoria for 100 years.”

The studio seeks to develop a hybrid project that integrates architecture and landscape architecture in a challenging scenario that requires the simultaneous resolution of different components at multiple scales.

Studio Leader

Isabel Lasala is a Venezuelan architect and academic based in Melbourne, Australia. She is one of the Directors of Lasala & Lasala Architects, an award-winning practice with more than twenty years of experience. Isabel holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad Central de Venezuela, a Master of Architecture from ETSAB/Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, an MPhil in Landscape Architecture from University of New South Wales and is a PhD candidate at RMIT University. Her practice-based research investigates new possibilities emerged at the intersection of architecture and landscape architecture. In 2014, Ediciones FAU/UCV published her book Creating Places: Exalting and Overcoming the Architectural Object in the Work of Pablo Lasala. Before settling in Australia in 2009, Isabel was a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of UCV. In Australia, she has taught design studios at Melbourne University, Monash University, RMIT, UNSW, and University of Technology Sydney.

Readings & References

  • Andersen, B 2003, Alvar Aalto and Jorn Utzon: An Architecture of Ancient Gathering Forms, University of Aalborg, Aalborg.
  • Burns, C & Kah, A 2005, Site Matters: Design Concepts, Stories, and Strategies, Routledge, New York.
  • Carr, S, Francis, M, Rivlin, L & Stone, A 1992, Public Space. Environment and Behaviour, Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • Corner, J (ed.), 1999, Recovering Landscape: essays in contemporary landscape architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, New York.
  • Cosgrove, D 1999, Mappings, Reaktion Books, London.
  • Galofaro, L 2002, Artscapes El arte como aproximación al paisaje contemporáneo, Gustavo Gili
  • (Land&ScapeSeries), Barcelona.
  • Grainger, H 2006, Death redesign, British crematoria: History, architecture and landscape, Spire books limited, London.
  • Leatherbarrow, D 2004, Topographical Stories. Edited by John Dixon Hunt, Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Gehl, J 2001, Life between buildings: using public space, Island Press, Washington DC.
  • Gehl, J 2013, How to study public life?, Island Press, Washington DC.
  • Pallasmaa, J 2012, The eyes of the skin. Architecture and the senses, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.
  • Pallasmaa, J 2012, The thinking hand. Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture, AD John Wiley & Sons,  Chichester, UK.
  • Petschek, P 2008, Grading for landscape architects and architects, Birkhauser, Basel - Boston – Berlín.
  • Ruby, I & A 2006, Groundscapes The rediscovery of the ground in contemporary architecture, Gustavo Gili (Land&ScapeSeries), Barcelona.
  • Valentijn, V, Verhoeven 2018, K, Goodbye Architecture The Architecture of Crematoria in Europe, nai010 publishers, Amsterdam.
  • Worpole, K 2003, Last Landscapes The Architecture of the Cemetery in the West, Reaktion books, London.

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 09:00-12:00

Contact Handbook

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