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AbstractThis thesis investigates the nature of burial place as a daily public space to mourn people's loss and celebrate their life in the ordinary cities. It seeks a new architectural typology of cemetery to rebuild a relationship between the dead and the living and it envisions the future cemetery to shape new rituals and means of memorialization. At first blush, cemetery is a specifically designated space where the corpse of deceased people are buried with funeral ceremonies. However, cemetery is a struggle place where meets secular and sacred needs. On one hand, cemetery functions almost like a library or a museum which archives the history and memories from the world of living. On the other hand, cemetery is a real estate property for remains like housing for people. It has to face the capacity problem of the constant increasing amount of the dead delivered from the world of living. When people began to understand the importance of treating dead bodies and buried them in a collective space, cemetery become an essential city infrastructural components where any social classes could possibly stay together without any hierarchy. The ritual activities of placing a deceased person into the ground is a common activity across almost any cultures and religions. Cemetery has been responding the topic of mortality of human being from its internal architectural logic. Nevertheless, as the rapid development of modern cities, the construction for comfort and convenience of the livings are quickly exhausting the urban pace. The burial ground for corpse becomes the least concerned place under the needs of a clean, organized and efficient urban system. As a result, the external relationship between the space of the dead and the remaining space of the living in a broader scale was neglected since the time of Enlightenment in 18th Century. China, the most populated country in the world, successfully controls the total population after the thirty three years introduction of "one child policy". It has to face the inevitable highly growing death population as a the sequel of striking birth rate fifty years ago. In addition, the cemetery, which is an imported concept from Western countries, transfers the scattered form of graves into a concentrated space. However, like any other over accelerated development in Chinese cities, the architecture of cemetery has barely developed to face evolution of contemporary urban life. My thesis seeks an architectural possibility to find a new relationship between the living and the dead. If we say the modern technology could solve the primacy concern-the need of hygiene-when the burial place was banished from the core of cities, what is the possibilities to bring cemetery back into our daily life. Can cemetery help us to understand our mortality to save the social crisis we face now? My thesis tends to propose a new cemetery typology to rebuild the relationship between the dead and the living in contemporary city in China.
by Li Huang.
Thesis: M. Arch., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2014.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.
Pages 100-101 blank. Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 98-99).