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The Botanical Cemetery

Part 2 Project 2015
Ian Page
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
There are approximately 7’668 deaths per year in Marseille, and due to the post war baby-boom generation now reaching old-age, the number of deaths is likely to rise 20% over the next 20 years - and our cemeteries are already at capacity. Like every major city, Marseille faces the question of what to do with our dead.

Cremation is our current solution to this, a highly energy intensive process that releases harmful materials into the atmosphere. Cremated remains are either stored in columbaria or cemeteries, or scattered elsewhere, diminishing the social and cultural importance of a space for memorial in the city.

Using the experimental process of Promession combined with a tree nursery, the Botanical Cemetery addresses this problem in a holistic manner; Through an environmentally sound process of reducing the body to 30kg of organic matter that is used as food for a maturing tree, the Botanical Cemetery physically connects our bodies to the greater energy cycles of nature.

More than this, through the visible creation of life - in the growing tree - from death, it provides the human need for both an object of memorial and a public space in the city that is associated with it.

Ian Page


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