Demuynck / The vocabulary of architectural consolation

The vocabulary of architectural consolation

Author: Eva Demuynck, KU Leuven

Supervisor: Jo Van Den Berghe, Prof. dr., KU Leuven; Thierry Lagrange, Prof. dr., KU Leuven

Research stage: PhD (intermediate)

Category: Paper


Responding to the growing disconnection between existing funerary architecture and contemporary memorial practices, this research explores alternative ways to approach the design of funerary architecture. During the first part of the research, the issue was addressed through a bottom-up autoethnographic approach to architectural design, focusing on how (re)designing space impacted the mental wellbeing of their respective designers. A study of the associated design projects led to the discovery of a new vocabulary of spatial metaphors. This paper continues to build on these findings through the creation of a speculative architectural design, aimed at breaking through this carefully curated distance between the worlds of the living and the dead. It is to be situated on the abandoned island of Madonna del monte (Venice, IT), which through its gradual erosion by the surrounding lagoon invites an exploration of the opposition between preservation and decay, as metaphors of life and death.

Keywords: funerary architecture, spatial metaphors, speculative architectural design