THE BARTLETT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECT, UCL
This project is a proposal for saving a discarded industrial heritage landscape in the heart of urban Helsinki, transforming a coal depository into a poetic memorial landscape with a new age crematorium and cemetery for the Anthropocene. The contested dialogue between nature and mankind will lead to changes in the future which are unprecedented. The aim of this project was to create a memorial that is both an emotional response to the end of nature and a poetic celebration of the existence of humankind, challenging and redefining the concept of a cemetery. The landscape of death can extend beyond land burials and into the digital realm, where a huge part of the identity of people is already stored virtually. A digital archival crypt could significantly reduce the area of urban land required to house the deceased.
Situated next to a decommissioned coal power plant, the proposal will also respond to the issues of fossil fuels in the Anthropocene. Coal, usually perceived as a brittle and polluting fossil fuel, is transformed into a malleable and curated landscape material which absorbs heat and buries the archival and bereavement facility within the landscape. It creates tranquil and warm interiors, a sharp contrast with the cold Scandinavian climate.