As time passes: garden, monument, ruin

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Groundspace to bury the deceased has become a rare commodity. As an alternative, cemeteries are beginning to build large high density mausoleums to house the dead above ground. As I began to study the building type of a mausoleum, an issue perturbed me: As time passes, the loved ones of the deceased will pass on and no longer come to visit or care for the building. Most likely there will be a lack of funds, the building will no longer be maintained. The building will eventually deteriorate and become a ruin. What happens to the mortal remains? The conventional cemetery does not have to consider this issue, as the bodies are simply allowed to deteriorate in the ground, and the grave marker is able to withstand much more abuse than a building. The manner in which I have addressed this issue is to design the mausoleum to potentially become a ruin, and thus the mortal remains are returned to the earth. “FOR DUST YOU ARE AND TO DUST YOU WILL RETURN.” (GEN 3:19 NIV)