Siting the industrial cemetery : new burial grounds and crematory for Braintree, MA
Author(s)Stump, Richard Edward
New burial grounds and crematory for Braintree, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Ann Pendleton-Jullian.The existence of a cemetery extension on the site of a defunct quarry and concrete batch plant allows the two sequences to begin a dialogue. The industrial cemetery reveals the human aspects of the concrete and quarrying industries. At the same time, the cemetery site draws upon its past mechanical existence to impart its industrial nature to those who experience it. The industrial processes required to excavate and process the land inform the organization and design of the cemetery extension. The crematory's presence will permit the funeral ritual to be affected by the industrial sequences of excavation and aggregate production. Additionally, the undefined boundary conditions around the cemetery will be engaged, integrating original cemetery, the new extension, and the juxtaposed urban fabric of the site. The second design investigation involves the inclusion of a fourth process into the project-the harvesting of light. Natural and artificial light become commodities to be processed by the structures of the crematory. The computer's ability to aid or inhibit the process of design and representation of light harvesting will be explored and tested. This new process will reinforce the initial investigation of the funeral, concrete batching and quarrying rituals/processes. At the same time, the separate buildings of the complex will be bound into a functioning unit through the harvesting ritual.
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The contemporary urban condition has placed a great deal of stress upon American cemeteries. Many cemeteries, once sited at the edge of cities and towns, are now surrounded by urban sprawl and development of surrounding land. Boundaries become blurred and undefined, and incompatible programs are placed at the edges of the cemetery. Development and exploitation of land has resulted in the fracturing of a sacred environment in urban cemeteries, and some cemeteries have been displaced in the pursuit of developing land. The rituals and attitudes surrounding death and burial are also changing. Cremation is beginning to precede over burial for economic and practical reasons, and the rituals of death are becoming less personal. This thesis will address these issues through the critique and design of a new extension for the Blue Hill Cemetery, in Braintree. The process of design will consist of two investigations: the initial design of a crematory complex and burial ground, and an exploration of natural and artificial light in the complex's structures. The latter investigation is conducted through computer modeling, and it will also explore the computer's potential as a design tool. The first design investigation will recognize the pressures of the urban condition surrounding the old cemetery. An informed response is required-one that recognizes past and present uses of the site as well as the need to redefine the cemetery as a sacred space. Excavation of an existing land form is necessary to expand the cemetery, and the exploited land will need to be reclaimed as a sacred place. The movement towards the industrialization of the rituals surrounding death and burial have a counterpoint in the human aspects of the industry of excavating the land.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1996.Includes bibliographical references (p. 121-125).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology