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Dealing With Death: Modern Approaches to the Architecture of Loss and Memorial

Part 1 Dissertation 2008
Daniel Baker
University of Cambridge UK
This dissertation describes the importance of the architecture of death and memorial in modern, westernised society. Firstly it looks at the architecture and practises surrounding death in past eras through which it draws comparisons to contemporary times. By investigating the ideas of anthropologists and sociologists, an understanding of contemporary attitudes towards death and mourning is developed. The role architecture has to play for the bereaved is illustrated through descriptions of The Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and The Igualada Cemetery in Spain, amongst others. Finally suggestions are made about how attitudes towards the natural environment are influencing the recent design of cemeteries and memorials.
Daniel Baker

Danny came to me with a visit to Stockholm under his belt and the desire to
tease out some meaning from the Woodland Cemetery and Igualada, as the last
century's iconic proposals for memorial. His delicious title followed, and a
very enjoyable and fruitful conversation on loss, remembering, popular dealing
with grief, the role of Nature and, for many, its substitution for religion,
ecology and the future architectural response to the last mystery. He took the
ball and ran with every pass and I commend a brave and imaginative work.

John Sergeant
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