zaarchitects.com

memory museum
memory_museum0

name: memory museum
status: competition
location: Singapoore, ERP 25 CTE / Merchant Road
function: museum, DNA storage
plot area: 0.95 ha
architects:  Dmitry Zhuikov, Arina Agieieva
year: 2013


Current conditions Burial procedures with no doubt are among most stable social and ecological layers, somewhere between  religion and
nature, thus it is difficult for people to accept changes in this pattern. Indeed, comparing with progress in other stratums of human life our
funeral culture almost doesn’t change for the last 1000 years or even more. Of course growing popularity of cremation helps somehow, but
it only helps to adjust everlasting tradition to modern conditions. But what about these traditions itself? Dust or bones end out their life in
columbarium or cemetery of any kind. And besides cemeteries that become historical tourist attractions (as Highgate or Pere-Lachaise)
they share following drawbacks: 1. Cemetery/ columbarium  takes too much space, in world of megalopolisation it pushes graveyard to the
city outskirts, it is lead to second feature. 2. Location which can be not easy to visit. 3. If graveyard is nevertheless located somewhere in
the city, it is closed territory that can’t be easily visited by the townsmen, thus it is loose of valuable municipal area. 4. Graveyard/
columbarium is monofunctional, devoted only to the people that came to visit their relative’s grave. Considering that in 10 years after death
such visits are hardly more often than twice per year, it is extremely underused area. 5. Grave itself with picture/text/sculpture doesn’t help
to memorize or recognize the person. 6. Buried body contaminates soil.

Goals Considering above mentioned, our project solutions are focused on three purposes: 1. Improvement of the memory. Using both,
material and nonmaterial we want to make cloud of content around each person that pass away. 2. Compaction. Why do we have to keep
dust and bones, if one single hair contains all genetic information, while one memory card can store all media data about numerous people?
3. And most important - Socialization. We don’t need empty cemeteries anymore. Just imagine how interesting can be experience and life
story of any single man, so why not to share it with those who alive? In our new concept cemetery is not a cemetery, but vibrant public
domain. It is not a place of silence, it is place of dialogue.

It is a Memory museum We propose not new kind of funeral architecture, but the new funeral culture. In this culture memory keeping and
dead body are separated. After traditional funeral rites, it is proposed to take DNA-example (e.g. - hair, nail, etc.) and some valuable personal
thing (e.g. – ring, medal, watch etc.). Corpse is than directed to be cremated and dispersed out of the city. DNA-capsule will be stored in
the museum together with personal thing. On the surface of the capsule there is a 2D-code. Anyone with smartphone can read this code and
get access to media content about deceased - which is non-material memory while valuable thing exhibited nearby and presence of DNA-
instance in the capsule must give feeling of materiality and information for the further generation.

 

As a location Singapore was selected. It is a city-state located on the very compact territory with one of the highest density of population in
the world and have only one cemetery still in use. This place indeed requires the new solutions. Project site is located in the downtown, near
the Clark Quay and Riverside Point. Plot area – 0.95 ha. Complex contain park, under the  park hills there are an underground parking for
visitors, cafe and funeral center which house funeral services for all confessions in Singapore. First museum tower is located on the north-
east side of the plot. One tower accommodate 495 100 DNA capsules, together with personal belongings. It is proposed to build four towers
during next 80 years, it  will cover all needs of Singapore in burials for this period. Eventually museum will hold 1 980 400 capsules and
exhibits, which makes it real treasury. If this area was used for traditional graveyard, it could hold only 5000 graves…

Tower Core of the tower is atrium, which can be used for a variety of events and installations. Around atrium twine two helicoidal pedestrian
ramps, one inside another one. On the top ramps are weaved and way up turns to way down. Walking direction can be switched also on flat
areas, which connect ramps twice per one turnover. In between these two ramps located parapet-storage for the DNA-capsules. Above,
between parapet and ceiling there is a showcase with exhibits. Each religious community has their own area for capsules storing and these
areas are equispaced. On the ramps there are numerous observation balconies directed outside to the city and inside to the atrium. In the
underground there is mediatheque, where visitors can look for media on the workstations, take a rest, cup of coffee, etc. Structural framework
consists of two distorted hexagrid hyperboloids made of steel that clench helicoidal ramps inside and outside. Tower is transparent - no walls,
no windows. From south side it is equipped with photovoltaic panels, which have to cover mediatheque needs in energy.

Funeral center Main design task of the funeral center is issue of its segregation from the rest of the complex, with purpose to separate people
that come there heart-broken for funeral rites, from people who came just to visit museum and park. Underground floor house all service
facilities (mortuary, make-up room, etc.). Dead bodies delivered directly here with hearse via underground entry. After preparation, body is
lifted up with elevator to one of the ceremonial chapel, on the ground floor. All chapels oriented to the center’s atrium, which is not accessible
or visible from outside. After ceremony dead body is delivered back to the hearse, which brings it to the cremation plot outside the city.
Funeral center also offers a lobby, rooms for relaxation and office premises.

Park Beside usual park functions it also offers cafe, ponds, and some exclusive funeral chambers. Relief of the park forms amphitheatres
and benches to seat on and observe river, city scenery and so on. Ponds also used for floating DNA-capsules and floating candles
performances. Ponds is also place for prospective towers.



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