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The Passing Place

Part 1 Project 2014
Charlotte Eley
University of Bath, UK
Passing away. Passing on life.

Death has been marginalised. Medical advances, living standards and lifestyle have driven an ever increasing life expectancy, with a focus on prolonging life. The reality of a deterioration in the quality of life is, arguably, sometimes ignored. What is a life if enduring unbearable pain and suffering? An irrevocable human right should be to die with dignity and end a life of suffering. The right to life includes the right to die; euthanasia.

After death, one person can help up to 8 people through organ donation, and benefit many more, up to 50, by donating tissue. Currently there are 10,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the UK and unfortunately most people die in circumstances that preclude organ donation. This unavailability of adequate organs for transplantation to meet the existing demand has resulted in an organ shortage crisis.

This project explores the pairing of a euthanasia retreat with the facilities for organ and tissue recovery; providing life to others following the death of an individual. This new building typology seeks to address society’s shifting attitude towards death and the invaluable potential of organ transplantation following euthanasia. This not only aids the co-ordination and, as a result, the success of organ transplantation, but hopes to provide comfort to the organ donor and their companions.

The euthanasia retreat is located in the depths of woodland, anchored to the cliff face to provide views out towards the canopy. The clinical element site perpendicular to the accommodation, extending back towards the road and providing an efficient process for the removal and distribution of organs. Detached from the form lie the arrival and departure thresholds. The arrival; a place of decision. Independent of the euthanasia retreat, the decision house looks out into open woodland. The departure; a place of release. The chapel stands alone, connecting the earth to the heavens; the axis mundi. The architecturale promenade binds the elements together, a threshold between passing away and passing on life.

Charlotte Eley

Mr Martin Gledhill

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