Funerary Complex

ScenarioA woman in her mid forties recently received a sizable inheritance which includes her family\’s funeral home business. Like many family owned and operated funeral homes, the facilities exist as part of the house in which she grew up. It is located in the Boston Area [site to be determined]. Currently she is the owner and manager of a modern art gallery in San Francisco and has a strong appreciation for concept architecture. For a number of reasons, she has decided to keep the funeral home and return to Boston. Her most significant reasons begin with her dissatisfaction with the American funeral industry which she feels is characterized by a lack of sensitivity for the human experience of transition and loss and the distanced artificially protective \”home-like\” atmosphere of the public spaces. Her desire is to now demolish the existing buildings and redevelop the property into a new modern facility that embodies the kind of serenity and grace that will promote a dignified, authentic and moving experience of this important life-cycle transition. The facility shall be non-denominational to encourage a connectedness to each participants consciousness and individual preferences.The client recognizes that there are discernable characteristics that distinguish an architectural work as being good, or beautiful or soulful. As a first step in the process, she has asked us to identify these characteristics, determine how we can collectively recognize them and determine how can we ultimately achieve them. This semester we will examine these questions among others. We will also explore the role that a visceral exploration of the more ethereal aspects of our sensory experiences can play in the creation of memorable places, spaces and the objects of architecture. Semester The semester will begin with the collective development of site documents and site model as well as the research and development of a program that will best suit the owners aspirations for the complex. We will then work toward achieving a holistic understanding of the project: including a thorough knowledge of the client\’s goals and functional requirements, the consideration of the potential humanizing opportunities and an exploration of the cerebral meanings of the \”story\”. It will be required that these exercises be completed in the first two weeks in order to allow enough time to reach our goal of completing fully developed designs for the project by semester\’s end. Students will be expected to invest a great deal of themselves on a deep personal level with the full history of their lives and their aspirations for the future. Students will also be expected to work at multiple scales from the start considering context issues and small details simultaneously. It is required that the semester\’s work be documented in the form of narrative writings, conceptual studies, site and building models, as well as plans, sections and elevations of the final design. However, the quality of the idea is most important and presentation techniques used should always be subordinate to the ideas communicated.A field trip to my studio and buildings in Tucson may be scheduled pending GSD approval and funding.