175_Leina Godin: Architecture for Silence

LEINA GODIN (@leina.godin)

From McGill Architecture (@mcgill_architecture)
Studio instructor: Prof Martin Bressani and Fabrizio Gallanti

Architecture for Silence

            This project proposes an architectural alternative on how we process death, overcoming the sense of powerlessness by re-defining the funerary procession in the densely populated city of Tokyo.

Contemporary Japanese rituals of death are undergoing changes as the population faces a persistently low birth rate with a rapidly ageing population. Atmospheres of Japanese funerals seem to be changing as well where the mourners feel less bound by old conventions. Thus the cultural shifts in Japanese traditions pushes the funeral industry to reassess the notion of funerals with trade fairs for them becoming more common and present. 

How does architecture play a role in this ever-changing funerary procession? Can architecture be the catalyst in transforming the modern funeral and what could then be the new relationship between death and the city? Indeed, death in the contemporary city is at a critical point where a new solution is mandatory.

This led to a vertical urban solution, housing all funerary acts from the moment of demise till burial, where the emphasis is on functionality while balancing the artistic and architectural freedom that cemeteries should offer to the­ public. The project creates a new pathway and a new machine for a more fluid, concise, and personal experience of death; a muted moment away from the city noise.

This project addresses the pressing demographic issues of Japan, while setting a precedent for what many developed countries may encounter in the future. The architectural solution is an efficient, sensible, and silent design amidst the density, chaos and noise of Tokyo.