Design, reinforced by research, reveals an urgent call to liberate city life from the burden of outmoded practices. A community’s need for sanitary and sensible disposal of corpses is intertwined with the need of survivors to organize suitable rituals and memorialize the deceased.

DeathLab’s body of research includes critical theoretical spatial propositions, data projections, scientific inquiry, and aims to develop ways to reduce the adverse impacts of our living years on the environment.

GSAPP Fall 2012: Inevitable Indeterminacy

This advanced studio explores architecture in dialog with impermanence, urban archives, and our unsettled relationships with memory and identity. Contemplating absence and remembrance, our work pulls the present forward and informs the shape and substance of imminent urban society—redefining what it means for a civilization to be civilized and for mortals to be connected by mortality. Studio work focuses on the future of life in cities and the transcendent spaces that emerge between the indeterminacy of urban life and the inevitability of death.

From the highly pragmatic logistics of what we do with dead bodies, to temporal repositories of public and personal archive, to the eviscerating intensity of grief - new spaces of mortality contribute to the civic life of the city. Misaligned with—yet networked through—quotidian urban tissue, design explorations question societal notions of the proper while serially navigating intimate experience in concert with the pulse of metropolitan life. Projects engage the objective, material world, no longer bound to conventions unsuitable to megacities and their diverse mega-populace. Conceptual and operational positions critically contend with time, duration, transience, and the liberation of letting go.