Date: Fall, 2019
Institution: Harvard GSD
Instructor: Eric Howeler
Rapid urbanization and global population growth has placed massive pressures on cities, increasing land values and forcing most to expand beyond their traditional boundaries. To compound this problem, the calamitous effects of climate change and sea-level rise means a lot of coastal cities will have even less land available to serve their citizens. This challenge will require creative thinking, a more efficient use of land and often neglected strategies such as managed retreat. As we do this, we will need to take another look at existing land-uses and strategize new ways to better utilize this scarce resource.

Cemeteries as they are currently designed, while still a necessary component of every city, are programmatically obsolete. Once outside traditional city limits, the rapid expansion of cities means that a lot of cemeteries are now located well within city limits and occupy some of the most valuable real estate. Aside from the inefficient use of land that is ground burial in traditional cemeteries, as flood waters come and ground waters rise with the sea-level, we run the risk of a lot dead bodies, particularly from old caskets, siting within the water table, contaminating ground water sources. A lot of these bodies will have to be moved to protect our fresh water sources.
I propose a single solution to both of these problems: by building new, vertical cemeteries at current cemetery sites that are not at risk from the worst effects of sea-level rise, exhuming and moving bodies from current sites under immediate risk to these new vertical cemeteries, thereby consolidating and making more efficient use of these spaces.

Integrating new and much needed public amenities within these cemetery site will be a way to engage the public and get their much needed buy-in.

Location of Site Along Transect

Location of Cemeteries Around Miami

Project Overview

Ground Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

Third Floor Plan

North-South Section

View From Street

View Across Pond

View Through Trellis

View Inside Ossuary

Model Photo

Model Photo

Massing Model

Massing Model

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