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Society’s views on death inspires unusual architecture project

23 July 2014

Suzanne Gamble

UCLan student designs unique crematorium for final year piece

Society’s perception of death has provided the inspiration for a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) architecture student’s final year project designing a crematorium centre in Rivington.

Kate Nicholson has designed an environmentally friendly crematorium centre in Rivington, Horwich, for her project entitled the Architecture of Death. Her main inspiration for this piece was based on how death is viewed in today’s culture.

Throughout her design Kate has focused on strong themes including the relationship between body disposal and environmentalism, how current cremation methods emit high levels of Co2 and also the frank view that we are rapidly outgrowing current methods of body disposal.

The element of water runs all the way through the 21-year-old’s project as not only would water surround the crematorium, but it would also feature heavily throughout the cremation process. Kate felt that water was a metaphor for the line between life and death and she has chosen to not focus on a particular religion in her work.

“My proposal focuses on providing a place of rest which has no religious aspects; it is about remembering the person who has been lost.”

Kate, who is originally from Stone in Staffordshire, said: “My proposal focuses on providing a place of rest which has no religious aspects; it is about remembering the person who has been lost.

“I have challenged tradition and addressed the most prominent issues surrounding deathcare; our lack of openness about death, dealing with remains, environmental impact of body disposal, the financial pressures of a funeral and the role of religion today”.

Keeping on the theme of nature, Kate’s crematorium would be constructed from a mixture of timber and glass allowing the building to feel ‘open’; this coincides with how she thinks people’s opinions and views should be on death.

Kate’s model originated from a floating lantern as within her construction, the lantern represents letting someone go. The budding architect wanted to propose a day of celebration where family and friends can participate in a formal ceremony, personal reflection, a dinner and a spectacle in order to say their final goodbyes.